Realpolitik behind Lina Joy decision May 31, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Democracy, Human Rights, Islam in Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics, Southeast Asia.
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: German, from real actual + Politik politics
: politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives (Merriam-Webster)
To kill two birds with one stone is to have the majority view advocate for jurisdiction be placed in the realm the Syariah court, and the dissenting view aim at satisfying the detractors.
This is, after all, an election year.
It was at the fringes of the KeADILan Congress that I was able to discuss the issue of apostasy with a degree of frankness with an old friend. It went a little like this:-
“Seriously, is it really a problem?” I’d asked.
“No, but would it be better for Muslims to resolve this issue amongst ourselves?”
“You mean there is a way out?”
“Yes. But they have to go through counselling. After that, if they still want to leave, we cannot stop them.”
“A bit like divorce cases?”
“But these people put them in detention centres!”
“They aren’t all that bad.”
“I’ve not seen the insides of them. Wouldn’t it be better if one isn’t held inside these centres and are free to enter and leave, or have scheduled counselling session?”
“It’s something to think over. But why aren’t the rights groups interested in a dialogue or a discussion.”
“That’s … not …. well….”, my voice faltered when I recalled the number of times Article 11 rejected overtures for dialogue.
An awkward and glum cloud hovered over us.
There were no winners on Wednesday morning, unless we include the Islamophobes who gained an additional dart or two.
It’s neither an earth-shattering decision nor does it change the social landscape here. The verdict reaffirms and maintains the status quo.
So why does it taste more bitter?
It means those attempting to have a meaningful partnership with Muslims, while holding on to their respective faiths, will continue to do so surreptitiously. Those who are thinking of embarking on a relationship will have second thoughts.
Who appointed judges and governments to be rulers of our hearts and souls?
Two years ago, while I still held a column in Malaysiakini, I’d written the following:-
Freedom of conscience and belief cannot only be limited to followers of a particular faith; what is freedom for one, should be in equal measure, freedom for the other.
One may argue this is all legal-speak but history has provided us a valuable pointer – that laws and punishment cannot move matters of the heart and soul.
In the end, those who struggle to practice their belief in quiet dignity …. are the ones who truly embody the infinite magnitude of the human spirit. (Archived here)
The apex court may have rejected Lina’s appeal, but it is Lina who is able to walk with her head held high, not those who sit on the thrones in the Palace of Justice.