‘For you is your religion, for me is my religion’

There was much hype following the sacking of a man who was captured on video wearing a cross while working in a Chinese Muslim eatery in Kuala Lumpur.

Several postings on social media sympathised with the employee, whose sacking was viewed as a case of unfair dismissal and religious discrimination.

The comments, as highlighted in a report recently, saw an X (formerly known as Twitter) user posting that the decision to sack the employee was not right, and that “wearing a cross has no bearing on the halal status of the food served”.

Another X (formerly known as Twitter) user posted: “To you your religion, to me mine”.

Blessed are the believers who uphold the true spirit and the truth of their religious teachings. Upon reading these comments, I am optimistic that Malaysians have hope, and this is the way forward for us. Progressive, fair, and humane.

We should all band together and call out the wrongs and injustices committed by egoistic, self-centred, self-absorbed, and self-involved people who are only absorbed in their own interests or selfish thoughts, and are only concerned chiefly with themselves, to the exclusion of others.

This is increasingly so when more and more people are resorting to religion to submit, subvert, or suppress others for their own ends and objectives. It is sad to see that this is not only confined to politicians who have no qualms or hesitation to use culture, race, or religion to empower themselves or dominate others.

I grew up in the 1970s as an adolescent, watching helplessly, the manipulation of cultural, racial, and religious sentiments and narratives.

For decades, I have been exposed to the political narratives and views of politicians that are often biased, misrepresented, slanted, bent, and changed to alter the views of their targeted group.

These individuals benefitted and empowered themselves, but now that I am older, I am not going to stand by and allow similar narratives and misdeeds to tear our peoples further and further apart.

I would like to call out and encourage more to point out any misdeeds and injustices that have contributed to the divisiveness and rancour in our society today. Enough is enough.

Malaysia and Malaysians have inherited a harmonious national multicultural, multiethnic, and multireligious foundation that is way too precious for politicians or political parties to trample on or displace.

We should not be mere bystanders, watching these emerging trends of using, or resorting to religion, to dominate others, now that cultural and racial narratives are no longer as effective as before.

Religion has been used effectively to incite or excite Bangsa Malaysia for decades. Fortunately, we are now less susceptible to racial or cultural provocations. Thankfully, we are more interracially and culturally integrated today.

I was wary when non-Muslims started to refer to themselves as “kafir”, or allowed the normalisation of the term “kafir” for them, in our established secular legal system.

Many have overlooked the fact that when you’re a “kafir” in the Islamic sense, will you then be a “kafir harbi”, “kafir dhimmi,” etc? How many understand the socio-political impact and potential implications to their rights, liberties, etc. thereafter?

Can we thus, avoid or stop the social judgments, treatments, or discriminations that will follow naturally thereafter? Are we normalising Islamic concepts and succumbing to, or subjecting ourselves to Islamic jurisprudence, laws, and practices?

If that is so, the Surah al-Kafirun: “For you is your religion, for me is my religion,” may no longer be followed.

We will then be replacing this or moving towards “For you is my religion, for me is also my religion,” which will be the mother of many injustices or unfairness.

When one is judged by the religion of another, there will surely be hardship and oppression.

The views expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of Twentytwo13.