Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Muslims shouldn't work at alcohol serving outlets

I, like many other Muslims, fail to see what the fuss is all about over the ruling by Subang Jaya Municipal Council to disallow Muslims from working at liquor serving entertainment outlets.

Most Muslims would have been dumbfounded by now by the statements from non-Muslim politicians from both sides of the divide. It seems, this issue has united both of them, just as some of the Muslim issues have united Muslim politicians.

Yet, this issue has got nothing to do with non-Muslim's right to enjoy Malaysia's most favourite drink.

The question I would ask those critics who lambasted MPSJ is this: would you want your sons and daughters to become bartenders and to work at such outlets?

Like the non-Muslims, we Muslims too have aspirations for our children. We do not want them to just become burger vendors, security guards and nasi lemak sellers the rest of their lives.

We want a good education for our children, and because of that, we support this ruling, because it would make them think about their responsibility as Muslims to earn a livelihood that is blessed by Allah and to live a life in accordance with the Quran.

Do the non-Muslim politicians who are worried about this rule have any business interests? Do they think these bars and pubs could not operate without Muslims' participation?

Pray, tell us why non-Muslim youths end up doing jobs which are more dignified and which give them better incomes, despite some of them not doing well in their academic life?

If the non-Muslims think that this new rule is the prelude to more Islamisation, then let the answer be yes. This Islamisation does not at all affect non-Muslims, other than those who would like to make use of these poor and innocent Muslim youths who could not get a decent job to make a living out of something which their religion forbids them.

Yes, we would not want Muslim life to be regimented by the powers that be, but we also do not want the non-Muslims to tell us how to live our life.

I hope the non-Muslim leaders, particularly in Pakatan Rakyat's state government in Selangor, will try to put themselves in our shoes.

Would you want your children to become bartenders to support their families? Would you want them to be masseuses, GROs, casino helpers?

It seems that these leaders have not learned why they still fail to get the confidence among Muslims despite their frequenting of mosques and suraus!

Muslims willing to get their kids vaccinated

About 11 months back, Iftkhar (name changed) had refused to get his three-year-old son administered polio drops, when a team of health department visited his house to get his ward vaccinated against polio menace during pulse polio campaign in Karamat Ki Chowki area.

But few months later, he came forward to get his son vaccinated against polio claiming that he had come to know the importance of two drops of polio that could save the life of his only child.

In the past two years, the joint teams of health department and district administration have launched various awareness drives in Muslim dominated areas, including Dufferin, Rani Mandi, Kulhan Tola, Baigan Tola, Gadi Saray, Patthar Gali, Shahganj, Akbarpur, Kareli, Karamat Ki Chowki, Shamms Nagar, Gaus Nagar and Dariabad, appealing to the parents\guardians to get their children aged upto 5 years of age take polio drops. The team members even had to face opposition, including brutal assault and heated arguments in their efforts to convince the families.

But, their hard work yielded fruitful results when 558 out of 648 families came forward and got their children administered polio drops. Senior health officer, Dr Meesum SAM told TOI, "The health department, with the help of UNICEF volunteers and district administration, is now targeting around 90 resident families who are still left.''

Muslims in India

This is with reference to Khaled Ahmed’s article of January 16 titled “Muslim future in India”.

The population of India is one billion strong and citing the name of one notable Muslim in a position of authority is hardly evidence of equality in India.

For a country that boasts of being the largest democracy in the world and packages itself as a secular state, where is the secularism in the politics of India where Hindutva runs along its spine? The BJP hasn’t changed, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is growing at an alarming rate, the Samjhota Express incident is a good example of how Muslims are treated in India and even Rahul Gandhi has been quoted as saying that Hindu extremism is India’s greatest threat.

Yes, Muslims in India have integrated better than most minority communities, but that isn’t because the Hindu majority or the Indian government has made concessions to them or assimilated them. It is because the Muslims there have had to put up and shut up.

Farah Qayum

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