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Malaysia’s troubled Hindu-Muslim Ties: Varsity’s modules depict Hindus in India as unclean

The peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims which was there in Malaysia for decades is now slowly giving way and is leading to intolerance

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October 15, 2016: Muslim majority country, Malaysia since the time of its independence in 1957 believed that the minorities ought not to be made to feel threatened thinking that they would not be able to maintain their own respective identities or promote their cultures. This kind of understanding is mainly based on the belief that there was political and cultural space for each and every religion and culture to thrive but Islam continues to be the state religion.

This kind of understanding is mainly based on the belief that there was political and cultural space for each and every religion and culture to thrive but Islam continues to be the state religion.

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The peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims which was there in Malaysia for decades is now slowly giving way and is leading to intolerance. In this year’s June, Malaysians were shocked to know that the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s (UTM) Islamic and Asian Civilizations module, derogatory comments were made about Hinduism as well as about Sikhism, mentioned straitstimes.com.

It was insulting to know that the lecturer claimed Islam introduced civility to the lives of the Hindus in India. He also added that the Hindus preferred to be “dirty”, and that that only Islam talks about the importance of cleanliness. Though the offending lecturer is terminated, this conduct of his was astonishing.

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Muslims in Malaysia should also think more about their Hindu countrymen. One the best ways to do so is to acquaint themselves with the writings of, a Muslim scholar known as Abu al-Rayhan Al-Biruni. He was in the court of Mahmud Ghaznavi (979-1030).

With the troops of Mahmud Ghaznavi, Al-Biruni travelled to India and lived there for years, during that time he mastered Sanskrit, and also translated a number of Indian religious texts into Arabic. He also studied many Indian religious doctrines and have written several books and treatises, which includes the Kitab Fi Tahqiq Ma li-l-Hind (The Book of What Constitutes India).

According to the straitstimes.com report, it was his view that the Indians believed in one god, which means the same god that is being worshipped by the Jews, Christians and also the Muslims. Malaysia in general always speaks of a harmonious society. Only due to the political developments in the recent years, people are getting to see an unhealthy development by making reckless statements by the politicians, religious leaders and also the educators and is upsetting the current harmony of the society. That in turn, is affecting the Hindu-Muslim relations.

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It is important that for the sake of each other maintaining mutual respect and tranquillity in the country is required. Muslim leaders have a greater responsibility, which means that the Muslim political and religious elite should not just merely tolerate the presence of the non-Muslims or the minorities but also should actively protect their rights and properties.

– Prepared by NewsGram team

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  • Antara

    Maintaining peace must be our utmost goal!

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New law in Tajikistan bans hijab, asks women to stick to traditional clothes

Unlike Islamic countries, women in Tajikistan do not wear a hijab that is supposed to be wrapped under the chin, but a scarf that is tied behind the head

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Tajikistan passes law for women to stick to traditional clothes
Tajikistan bans Islamic veil. Pixabay
  • Legislators in Tajikistan passed a new law requiring people to wear country’s traditional clothes
  • Reportedly, the decision is intended to stop women from wearing Islamic clothes
  • Women wearing hijab are already forbidden from entering the government offices, under the existing laws

New Delhi, September 5, 2017: A new law that requires people to “stick to traditional and national clothes” has been passed by the Tajikistan legislators, adding Tajikistan in the long list of countries that ban or limit Islamic dress.

Although the legislation hasn’t specifically mentioned “hijab”, but the authorities’ previous statements about hijab representing an “alien culture” makes their goal to discourage women from wearing Islamic hijab quite apparent.

Despite it being a Muslim majority country, Tajikistan’s minister of culture, Shamsiddin Orumbekzoda, talking to Radio Free Europe, called Islamic dress “really dangerous”.

“Everyone looks at them with concern, like they could be hiding something under their hijab,” he said.

Unlike Islamic countries, women in Tajikistan do not wear a hijab that is supposed to be wrapped under the chin, but a scarf that is tied behind the head.

Women wearing hijab are forbidden from entering government offices in Tajikistan
A woman wearing hijab working in Saudi Arabia. VOA

Under existing laws, women wearing hijabs are already forbidden from entering the country’s government offices. In August, around 8,000 women wearing hijabs were approached by the government officials, in the capital of Dushanbe, who were then asked to wear their scarves in the Tajik style.

According to the Daily Mail report, police last year, in the Central Asian state, convinced 1,700 women to remove their headscarves, arrested 89 hijab-wearing prostitutes and closed down 162 shops and stalls selling hijabs.

Also ReadNothing New! Muslim Women who don’t fully respect Islamic head scarf are Prostitutes, says an Iranian Cleric

The Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, while delivering his Mother’s Day speech in March, criticized women for wearing “foreign” black clothing. He had also criticized hijab in 2015, when he stated that blindly copying a foreign culture is not a sign of having high moral or ethical standards for women, as mentioned by the Al Jazeera.

While many citizens support the law considering the security and preservation of culture, many are polarized over its implications regarding personal liberties.

“I have to decide for myself what to wear. No one has the right to tell me ‘you have to wear this,’” Oinikhol Bobonazarova, a human right activist told RFE.

The new legislation carries no penalties as of now, but some have claimed that punishment or fines may be introduced later.

Tajikistan calls itself a secular state with a Constitution that provides for freedom of religion, however, the religious practice among the citizens of the Muslim majority country, seems to be tightly controlled by the state.

France, Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany are some of the many countries that have banned full face Islamic veils.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha