Malaysia: TV station pulls Ramadan commercials aimed at non-Muslims

Just consider what would have been the international reaction if a Christian-majority country would have shown on TV ads aimed at non-Christians telling them what they should or shouldn’t do during religious celebrations. I guess even Ban Ki-Moon would have protested:

“While the station retracted the advertisements within 48 hours of first screening them and issued a public apology, this episode is telling of the dominant interpretation among members of the Malay bourgeoisie there about the value of Ramadan,” writes Bahrawi. “Ending each advertisement is a condescendingly moralizing message that puts the onus of betterment on the culturally ‘other’ when the focus should be an improvement of the self.

In one, non-Muslims are explicitly told: “Do not be loud or obnoxious.”

“In another, it was: “Do not be greedy and eat in public.”

“More than spell out the exclusive nature of Islam, the advertisements are revelatory of the inability of Malaysia’s ultra-Malay elites to overcome ethnic tensions with the minority Chinese,” writes Bahrawi. “Ramadan or not, the advertisements suggest that their rose-tinted view of Malaysia is one colored by race-tinted glasses.”

via Malaysian TV station pulls Ramadan commercials aimed at non-Muslims – Beliefnet News.

Germany: footballers may eat during Ramadan, Muslim council says

Ramadan lanterns from below, Road 9, Maadi, Ca...

Ramadan lanters in Cairo. Image via Wikipedia

Germany‘s Central Council of Muslims said it was advising Islamic professional football players that they need not fast during Ramadan, ahead of the regular season resuming Friday.

“The professional player can make up the fasting days during periods when there is no match and in that way show his respect for God and the holy month of Ramadan,” council president Aiman Mazyek said in a statement.

During Ramadan, observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Several Bundesliga players are Muslim, including many players of Turkish origin and Bayern Munich‘s French international Franck Ribery.

A dispute over the issue in Germany began when the second-division team FSV Frankfurt gave three Muslim players an official warning in October 2009 for fasting during Ramadan and failing to inform their managers.

The German Football Federation (DFB) reached an agreement with Muslim leaders on fasting in 2010 allowing players to respect one of the five pillars of Islam while fulfilling their professional obligations.

via German footballers may eat during Ramadan: Muslim council – Univision Wires.

Indonesia: Mandatory veil and fasting as Indonesia is ‘Islamised’ during Ramadan

Muslims waiting for sunset during Ramadan in C...

Muslims waiting for sunset during Ramadan in Cairo. Image via Wikipedia

Respect to other faiths, Islamic style:

Wearing the veil for female public servants and fasting, including job loss if caught eating, are becoming compulsory in Indonesia. In some parts of the country, Ramadan has become a time of Islamisation with rules increasingly inspired by Sharia. For the authorities, fasting and praying have become compulsory, forcing Muslims to abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk.
On Madura Island (East Java Province), Pamekasan District chief Kusairi issued a directive whereby all female employees must wear the jilbab, or headscarf. In order to promote conformity with Islamic principles, women street vendors have to conform to the obligation. For Kusairi, this will strengthen Muslim women’s faith.Restaurants and nightclubs will also have to obey the rules. During Ramadan, such places must be closed during the day until dusk. Clubs, bars and places of nightly entertainment will close for the entire month.

Note that they will be closed TOO for non-Muslims.

Representatives of the extremist Islamic Defence Front (FPI) are out at night to strike against rule-breakers.

Respecting freedom of conscience…

In Bengkulu District (Sumatra), Mayor Ahmad Kanesi said that any municipal workers caught breaking the fast would be fired. He offered a 1 million rupiah (US$ 118) reward to anyone who caught a Bengkulu civil servant breaking the fast.

via INDONESIA Mandatory veil and fasting as Indonesia is ‘Islamised’ during Ramadan – Asia News.

Ramadan: Travelers Warned To Beware Of Rapists And Not To Chew Gum

Ramadan lanterns, Souq el Maadi, Cairo, Egypt

Ramadan lanterns, Souq el Maadi, Cairo, Egypt by B. Simpson Cairocamels. Image via Wikipedia

Of course, this is only due to Western influence…

Britain and the United States have issued special travel warnings for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins next Monday, and even chewing gum may be a problem for tourists.
The U.S. State Department said there is a high potential for revenge of the death of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden in May. It advised to take “extreme caution” when traveling by sea near the Horn of Africa or in the southern Red Sea “as there has been a notable increase in armed attacks, robberies and kidnappings for ransom by pirates.”

It also warned women to “take care when walking or traveling alone and use a reputable taxi company, particularly at night…. Drink spiking, known to be used in date rape, can also happen. Consular staff have noted an increase of drink spiking in night clubs in Dubai, resulting in sexual assaults on both men and women. Do not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended, including non-alcoholic drinks. When in pubs and clubs, stay with your friends and avoid getting separated in the crowd.”

via Travelers Warned To Beware Of Rapists And Not To Chew Gum During Ramadan « The Citizen\’s Report.

Egypt: 150 people arrested for not fasting on Ramadan

Missao Portas Abertas reports that the arrested are both Muslims and non-Muslims:

Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 150 people for eating during Ramdan.

They were imprisoned in Assua, South of Egypt and in the city of Hurghada, in Red Sea. According to the Al-Arabia net, authorities are taking severe measures against Muslims and non-Muslims who are found drinking, eating or smoking during the jejum time.

This is the first time that Egyptian authorities have acted in this manner. This is another sign of the Islamization process that will happen in the future. Nowadays, Egypt looks like it’s following the Gulf’s practices, where drinking, eating or smoking during Ramadan is punished with a month in prison or US$ 350 fine.

“This goes against the basic human rights of citizens. We, as Christians, aren’t Muslims and don’t believe there is an Islamic Jejum. And for Muslims this should be a personal question”, says Magdhi Kalil, director of Fórum de Liberdade do Oriente Médio.

Jonathan Racho, director of ICC for Africa and Middle East, says: “Punish Muslims for eating and drinking during Ramadan is a shame and a clear violation of religious freedom. We condemn this measure taken in Egypt to force Muslims and non Muslims to fast during Ramadan”.

Some days ago, a similar thing happened in Morocco.

Related: Church firebombed in Egypt after Opposition from Muslim neighbours.

"The police decided before any forensics were carried out that the cause of the fire was caused by a short-circuit," said an unofficial Church source. "This cannot be true, as the electricity was shut off as usual before locking the Church and the panel boards are intact as the photos show."  Sherif Ramzy of Free Copts said that Coptic witnesses told him that while the fire was burning, Muslim neighbors were elated. To portray their happiness, Muslim women were letting out the traditional celebration sound "zaghroota."

"The police decided before any forensics were carried out that the cause of the fire was caused by a short-circuit," said an unofficial Church source. "This cannot be true, as the electricity was shut off as usual before locking the Church and the panel boards are intact as the photos show." Sherif Ramzy of Free Copts said that Coptic witnesses told him that while the fire was burning, Muslim neighbors were elated. To portray their happiness, Muslim women were letting out the traditional celebration sound "zaghroota."

The MSM remains silent on the Coptic persecution in Egypt. The more silence on their situation, the more “Islamized” the country will become.

Morocco: six people jailed for scheduling a protest against Ramadan’s fast

(Translation: T&P)

Zineb el Rhazaoui began the group “Alternative movement for the defense of civil liberties” which is fighting against Islam’s abuses. Among other petitions, they are asking for the abrogation of Article 222 of the Moroccan Criminal Code which punishes Muslims who don’t respect the Ramadan’s fast. They can be sentenced to a jail term of between 6 months and a year.

Using Facebook, they scheduled a protest to eat a sandwich before dawn, something which is forbidden by the Ramadan’s fast, but they weren’t able even to begin their protest. Zineb, her friend and other 4 friends were arrested under charges of “trying to incite the public to break the fast”, according to official press agency Magrehb Arabe Presse.

Authorities consider they were trying to stage a protest and “break” the fast publicly, reason why they were arrested in the train station, although they consider the organization is “peaceful”. This is the first time some people show publicly in Morocco asking not to fulfill Ramadan’s fast.

The Moroccan Council of Ulemas has considered the action as a “hedious action which defies the teachings of God and his Prophet”.

During Ramadan, Islam believers must abstain themselves from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex, from dawn till nightfall.

There will be no scheduled protests for this around the world, I’m sure. But it’s deeply conforting there are people fighting against this kind of laws. These are basically against separation of State and Mosque, a concept which is so difficult to find along the Islamic world. Of course, I don’t believe Mohammed VIth to be very interested in having his power diminished and he knows that Islamism is a danger. He has not done a lot of reforms and the country is basically as it was 10 years ago when he began his reign. Specially the state of press freedom is worrying.

Malaysia: canning of woman who drank beer, delayed*

An update on this story:

Malaysia abruptly granted a Ramadan reprieve to the first Muslim Malay woman to be sentenced to caning for drinking beer, but insisted Monday the thrashing would still take place after the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old mother of two, had been en route to a women’s prison for the caning when Islamic officials who took her into custody drove her back home and released her.

via Malaysia delays caning of woman who drank beer – Yahoo! News.

But there is no cancelation of the sentence, as it was first claimed, just a delay till Ramadan ends.

Human rights group Amnesty International had condemned the sentence, and Malaysian pressure group Sisters in Islam told Al Jazeera that the caning was “still unjust” despite the decision to postpone the sentence until after Ramadan.

“We are hopeful that the whipping sentence will be withdrawn,” said Hamidah Merican, executive director of Sisters In Islam.

The problem is that this punishment exists for such an action, even if this time it’s not executed.

*Undhimmi agrees about this not being the end of canning in Malaysia:

We think the reprieve has nothing to do with a sudden outbreak of mercy. Internal pressure from Malaysians themselves, NGOs and the Blogosphere (the mainstream media caught onto this story late); plus the threat of legal action from Kartika herself – has given this story the kind of profile that has threatened the image of this so-called ‘modern Islamic state’ (an oxymoron if ever we’ve heard one), which markets itself around the world as an up-market tourist destination and high-tech business location.

while this is great news for Kartika, it is certainly not the end of flogging in Malaysia. Parties involved in any lower profile recurrences should not expect similar concessions.

Chalk this up to ‘reputation management’ and the avoidance of inconvenient litigation.