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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ku Li sokong tuntutan Bersih 3.0

Islamic ‘Adult Breastfeeding’ Fatwas Return

Saudi Sheikh Abdul Mohsin al-Abaican

Back in May 2007, Dr. Izzat Atiya, head of Al Azhar University’s Department of Hadith, issued a fatwa, or Islamic legal decree, saying that female workers should “breastfeed” their male co-workers in order to work in each other’s company. According to the BBC:

He said that if a woman fed a male colleague “directly from her breast” at least five times they would establish a family bond and thus be allowed to be alone together at work. “Breast feeding an adult puts an end to the problem of the private meeting, and does not ban marriage,” he ruled. “A woman at work can take off the veil or reveal her hair in front of someone whom she breastfed.”

Atiya based his fatwa on a hadith—a documented saying or doing of Islam’s prophet Muhammad and subsequently one of Sharia law’s sources of jurisprudence. Many Egyptians naturally protested this decree—hadith or no hadith—though no one could really demonstrate how it was un-Islamic; for the fatwa conformed to the strictures of Islamic jurisprudence. Still, due to the protests—not many Egyptian women were eager to “breastfeed” their male coworkers—the fatwa receded, and that was that.

However, because it was never truly rebutted, it kept making comebacks.

For instance, three years later in 2010, a high-ranking Saudi, Sheikh Abdul Mohsin al-Abaican issued a fatwa confirming that “women could give their milk to men to establish a degree of maternal relations and get around a strict religious ban on mixing between unrelated men and women.” But unlike Atiya’s fatwa, “the man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman. He should drink it [from a cup] and then [he] becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam’s rules about mixing.”

Now, a report titled “Kuwaiti Activists: Husband Breastfeeding from Wife not Prohibited,” published earlier this month by Arabic RT (see also Garaa News) opens by announcing that “The adult breastfeeding fatwa has returned once again to the spotlight, after Kuwaiti Islamic activists supported the adult breastfeeding fatwa issued by the Egyptian Salafi, Sheikh Jamal al-Murakbi [different from Al Azhar’s Sheikh Atiya]. This time around, the Kuwaitis examined the adult breastfeeding fatwa in the context of relations between a man and his wife.”

While the Kuwaiti sheikhs all essentially agree that the activity is not strictly forbidden according to Sharia—only “disliked” (literally makruh)—they are divided over the particulars.

• Sheikh Nazim Misbahi, head of the Fatwa Committee of the Islamic Heritage Revival Society in Kuwait, supports the decree, agreeing that “it is not forbidden [haram] for a man to breastfeed from his wife.”

• Sheikh Bassam al-Shatti, a Sharia professor, specifies: “If the husband deliberately sucks to obtain milk from the breast of his wife, this is forbidden; however, if it happens unintentionally during foreplay with his wife, then there is no problem—though it is disliked according to the four schools” of Sharia.

• Sheikh Sa’d al-Anzi stressed that “if the man, while being intimate with his wife, sucks her nipples, it is nothing, considered foreplay; but if the milk reaches his mouth, he should spit out—even if goes down in his stomach,” i.e., vomit.

Consider for a moment the significance of these Islamic edicts: whether women “breastfeeding” coworkers (Egyptian fatwa, 2007), whether men drinking female breast-milk in a cup (Saudi fatwa, 2010), or whether Kuwaiti minutiae concerning bedroom foreplay—such fatwas are reminders of the inescapable strictures of Sharia law: while these sheikhs offers various circumstances and interpretations concerning “adult breastfeeding,” they are all confined to the words of the prophet of Islam.

This is precisely why, despite all the claims that Islam is perpetually being “misunderstood”—by terrorists, by “Islamophobes”—understanding what Islam commands and forbids is actually quite a simple matter: along with the Koran, determine what the prophet said in canonical hadiths.

It is, after all, no coincidence that the above mentioned Kuwaitis, like Sheikh Misbahi, were members of the delegation that recently went to ask Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti about Islam’s position on churches in the Arabian Peninsula: the same source that compelled the Grand Mufti to declare that all churches must be destroyed, is the same source that advocates “adult breastfeeding”: Muhammad and his teachings. All very straightforward, really.

Pakistan: Forced conversions spark anger

Lahore, 13 April (AKI/Dawn) - Prof. Ashok Kumar is not afraid of taking a prominent stance on the Rinkle Kumari issue.

Fear, he says, is secondary compared to what is happening to the Hindu community in Pakistan, in particular Sindh. “We can’t just sit back and watch what our community is going through,” he says.

The recent case of Rinkle Kumari is not altogether an uncommon occurrence. Several young Hindu girls have been kidnapped in the dead of night from their homes, and dragged off to be forcibly converted to Islam, as they and their family members have later alleged. Usually this conversion is accompanied by a signing of the ‘nikahnama’ which strengthens the kidnappers’ side of the story, but still does not provide any kind of proof whether the marriage was done under duress or not.

On Thursday, protesters belonging to the Hindu and Christian communities in Lahore, accompanied by representatives of the Joint Action Committee (a group of social organisations), gathered outside the Lahore Press Club and shouted slogans in response to the slow treatment of the case, venting anger at religious fascism, forcible conversion, and a lack of support from the government.

Ashok Kumar, a professor of Sindhi language in the Linguistics Department of the Punjab University, is one of the protesters.

There are others too, students, professionals, young women, social workers, but the turnout has not been very high.

“We only decided this last night so couldn’t inform everyone on such short notice,” said Shahtaj Qizalbash from AGHS Legal Aid.

But Tanveer Jahan, also a member of the JAC, gives a more direct reply. “When it comes to minority rights, or any such sensitive issue, one just cannot expect any mass participation in Pakistan,” she says.

“You can just forget about the masses.” She says that both sides of the picture are grim – one side which does not support, and only watches the situation passively, while the other side which does come out on the streets but does so for its own vested interests and exploitation. “It is social workers like us who are stuck in the middle.”

“Down with mullah-ism!” shout the protesters, and a small number of drivers slow down on the busy section of the Simla Hill roundabout to see what the commotion is about. While many simply shake their heads and carry on, some are affected nevertheless, like Mehr Muhammad, a contractor.

“It is a sin to take away anyone’s rights like that,” he says, as he stands by watching the protest. “No religion allows this trampling of religious freedom. These girls should not be kidnapped and converted through force…how is it even conversion?” he questions, his brow furrowing over the worrying situation.

But another man has a completely different opinion. “Isn’t it a blessing if anyone is being converted into a Muslim?” he questions.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected two petitions, one filed by Rinkle’s husband, and the other filed by the father of another Hindu girl Dr Lata, from Jacobabad.

The two wanted to meet the girls, but the apex court observed that the two girls should be allowed to make a decision on whether they want to go with their parents or husbands based on a freewill therefore they were sent to Panah, a shelter home run by human rights lawyer Dr Majida Rizvi, where they will stay isolated till the court summons them again. The matter is to be taken up again on April 18.

The matter has been tangled yet further with the alleged involvement of Mian Mithu, a PPP MNA from Ghotki, where Rinkle was kidnapped, and also one Naveed Shah, who was a close associate of Mithu.

“Even when Nafisa Shah and some other PPP MNAs tried to move a resolution against this issue in the assembly, Mian Mithu did not support it,” says Tanveer Jahan. “I simply ask if an FIR has already been lodged against these two then why are they not under arrest?”

Another girl, Asha is still missing and Dr Ashok says: “The state of the Hindu girls being converted is terrible. Since January there have been at least 47 kidnappings. Another point to observe is that this is only happening to young girls, never boys or elders.”

Peter Jacob, worker for minorities’ rights, says this forcible conversion is not restricted to just Hindus and in Sindh. “In the last five years, there have been up to 400 to 500 conversions of Christians. And something equally horrifying, I know of: forcible circumcision of young men in Punjab and one in Balochistan…where are we going, one asks.”

In feudal terms, owning another party’s woman is having the upper hand. That coupled with marriage, gives the perpetrator more strength. No one knows what becomes of many of the girls after being married. Meanwhile, many Hindus feel that they are simply being harassed so they leave the country forever.

“But this is not just an issue restricted to Sindh,” says one. “This protest is meant to be calling out to the whole nation…Why does no one raise their voices for our rights too?” he asks.

Explain Indonesian with MyKad, NRD told

An Indonesian is in possession of a MyKad bearing the same number with that issued to a Kelantan -born taxi driver.

KUALA LUMPUR: An Indonesian has been using a MyKad which is indentical to that issued to a Kelantan-born taxi driver.

Exposing this today, Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar demanded an explanation from the National Registration Department (NRD).

According to him, the MyKad used by the Indonesian carried the same number and name of Rodzi Mohd Noor, except that in the former’s card Mohd was spelt as Mhd.

While Rodzi’s address was based on his home address in Rantau Panjang, the Indonesian man’s MyKad had a Kuala Selangor address.

“This is a very serious matter and the NRD director general should explain how this can happen,” said Uthayakumar during a press conference here.

Rodzi, who was also present, told reporters that he had lost his MyKad in 2000. “I later lodged a police report and got my new Mykad,” he said.

“However, I began to feel suspicious when I could not renew my road tax because there were two traffic summonses issued for a Proton Iswara with the number plate WEE 6037. The car was said to have been registered under my name, but I never used such a car,” he added.

Furthermore, Rodzi said he was blacklisted by a telecommunications company for purportedly not paying his mobile phone bill despite not being a subscriber of that particular service.

When he checked with the Road Transport Department (JPJ), the taxi driver, who now resides in Lembah Pantai, was shocked to discover that there was another person with the same MyKad number.

“With the help of JPJ officers, I cleared the summonses and filed a police report against the Indonesian man,” he said, adding that he had met the culprit in Kuala Selangor but the man managed to escape before the police arrived.

“Not only did he buy a car but he also obtained a driver’s licence under my name,” he said.

Rodzi said that despite three police reports and an official complaint being filed with NRD, no action had been taken.

Meanwhile, Uthayakumar asked how it was possible for an Indonesian to obtain a MyKad without NRD’s approval.

He added that there were numerous cases where illegal immigrants had been allegedly issued with MyKads by NRD.

“We would not be surprised if this ‘imposter’ Rodzi has also registered as a voter and would perhaps vote in the coming election,” he said.

Old poison, new bottle

We want the government to seriously respect our civil and political rights. What we don't want is the feel good factor, says DAP MP Charles Santiago.

By Charles Santiago

Its not easy to figure out what’s happening in Malaysia. We have a government that back tracks on promised reforms, flip flops on decisions and tries to deliver its nonsense on a silver platter to the people.By Charles Santiago

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak croons the country is ready to enter a new era, with heightened maturity – whatever that means is vague because the proposed amendments and dismantling of various laws in Malaysia are merely cosmetic changes.

Malaysia is one of the 16 countries which have not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The country’s institutionalised racial discrimination had contributed to a severe brain drain, with 1.4 million people with tertiary education having left the country.

And yet the government has pulled back plans to table a legislation, in Parliament, to do away with hate crimes and weed out racial discrimination. Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, minister in the Prime Minister’s department, attributed this about turn to being able to manage our race relations better.

Last year we saw school teachers and a principal using racial slurs to ridicule Chinese and Indian students. To top that, Malay rights group, Perkasa, was openly inciting racial tension by spewing venom.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community has also come under severe attacks recently. The organisers of Seksualiti Merdeka, an annual festival of talks, shows, forums and film screenings to promote sexuality rights have been targeted, ridiculed and threatened.

In 1994, the government banned anyone who is homosexual, bisexual or transsexual from appearing on the state-controlled media. We have not progressed to curb such explicit hatred against the LGBT community since then.

In 2010, the Film Censorship Board stated it would only allow the depiction of homosexuality if the characters repented or died.

Now we have some segments of society suggesting individuals from the marginalized LGBT community must be banned from appearing on air altogether.

And yet the legislation to root out hate crimes is on the back burner.

‘We want true democracy’

Even though Najib has been trumpeting the fact that he did away with three Emergency Ordinances, we know better as other crucial reforms are simply shadow play.

For example, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill is not a radical shift from the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows for indefinite detention. The new Bill still allows for indefinite detention up to 28 days from the 60 days under the ISA.

If this is what Najib means by revamping the judiciary, he better think again for any indefinite detention poses a grave threat to fundamental liberties. And Human Rights Watch candidly sums this up by saying that the failure to bring a detainee before a judge, without any delay, violates international standards for prompt judicial review.

The Bill also gives wide powers to the police. Holding detainees up to 48 hours opens the channel for abusive interrogation. And we have seen one too many cases of police abuse while in detention. Between 2003-2007, there were 1,535 custodial deaths in the country.

Under the new Bill, the police would have the power to intercept communication and conduct searches without judicial warrant. It would also permit the police to unilaterally place monitoring devices on people who are released from detention and allow a blanket provision to deny bail.

Is this how Najib and his government want to treat a matured society? Does the prime minister truly believe that passing off a proposed law which allows for serious infringement on personal and civil liberties as reform would go unnoticed by the people?

We want true democracy. We want the government to seriously respect our civil and political rights. What we don’t want is the feel good factor.

The renowned poet, Hafiz, said “Not even seven thousand years of joy is worth seven days of depression”. Maybe Najib could learn from his poetry.

Charles Santiago is DAP’s MP for Klang.

Settler dies in front of PM’s office

Mohd Nordin Bakri's hope of seeing the prime minister's intervention to resolve his land woes turned tragic when he collapsed and died in front of the PM's office.

PUTRAJAYA: A settler’s hope of seeing a land issue, which has been dragging on for more than three decades, resolved turned tragic when the father of five collapsed and died outside the Prime Minister’s Office here.

What irked his fellow settlers was that the police personnel present did not offer to help while the ambulance only arrived some 20 minutes later.

The deceased Mohd Nordin Bakri, 54, was among 200 settlers from Kampung Serampang Indah (formely known as GATCO) near Jempol, Negeri Sembilan, who chartered four buses and travelled 150km in the hope of meeting Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak yesterday.

They wanted to hand over a memorandum and call for the premier’s intervention into the land matter.

However, they could not meet Najib as he was attending to official matters but managed to hand over the memorandum to the premier’s private secretary Mohammed Amir Haron.

As a six-member delegation met Amir near the security post, Nordin suddenly collapsed and those present rushed to his aid. They carried him to the security post and asked for an ambulance.

“I was very disappointed that medical help came late. After I informed the security personnel and Amir, the ambulance only came more than 20 minutes later,” said Paroi state assemblyman Mohd Taufek Abdul Ghani, who was also present.

“I also regret that despite the presence of a large number of police personnel, none of them offered to give Nordin first aid,” added the PAS leader.

Meanwhile, Kampung Serampang Indah (GATCO) action committee secretary C John told FMT that Amir promised to raise the matter with Najib and issue a reply within two weeks.

On March 28, FMT reported that the settlers held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar’s office urging the state leader to intervene and help them.

A total of 400 settlers bought a 10 acre agricultural land from GATCO in 1977. The bumiputera settlers paid RM4,000 and the non-bumiputera settlers forked out RM7,600 for the land.

However in 1983, GATCO declared bankruptcy and the size of the land was reduced to eight acres per settler. In 2004, the land was auctioned. The settlers paid RM320,000 (earnest deposit) to Singam and Young Associates who was the auctioneer.

‘Where is justice for us?’

“When we wanted to pay the second installment, the auctioneer refused to receive the second payment. Later the land was auctioned to Thamarai Holdings Sdn Bhd for RM16 million.

“The basis of our argument is that the government, especially the Negeri Sembilan state government and Menteri Besar Mohd Hasan should take responsibility on the basis that the land originally belonged to the state government,” said committee chairman Abdul Rahman Ali Mohamad.

Under the previous menteri besar, he said, the state government leased the land for 99 years to Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri, Negeri Sembilan (PKNNS).

“Later PKNNS leased the land for 66 years to GATCO. It’s clearly stated in the terms and conditions that GATCO should develop the land for the settlers,” he added.

Rahman said when GATCO went bankrupt, the state government and Dana Harta should have given the settlers the first choice with regard to owning the land.

“We paid the money for the land 35 years ago and now we are willing to pay RM18 million to get back our land. Why did the government allow this to happen? Where is justice for us?” he asked.

Is the Tun hallucinating?

by P Ramakrishnan - Aliran

In an open letter to Mahathir, P Ramakrishnan takes to task the former premier for his outrageous statements about the Pakatan administrations in Penang and Selangor of late.

My dear Tun Dr Mahathir,

I’m at a loss as to whether you are hallucinating or failing to see the reality.

Your views on Penang and Selangor are misconceived and misplaced. You come across as a dishonest politician determined to score political points and mislead Malaysian voters. You do no credit to yourself nor do you live up to your reputation as an elder statesman (Bernama, 29 January 2012).

Your statement, “They have already been given a lot of chances. A lot of unhappy things have happened in Penang, the same (is happening) in Selangor,” does not make any sense at all. “They have been given a lot of chances”, you unreasonably claim.

Pakatan only came to power on March 8, 2008. They have been in office only for four short years. What chances were given to them and who gave them those chances? What are you talking about? What miracles were you expecting them to perform in this short period of time?

Compare their short term of office to the Barisan Nasional’s nearly 55 years of tenure – truthfully and honestly. We can justifiably throw back at the BN the very words you had uttered: “They (BN) have already been given a lot of chances. A lot of unhappy things have happened in Penang, the same (is happening) in Selangor.” This is indeed a valid observation requiring an honest answer from you, dear Tun.

Indeed, 55 years is a very long time. It is more than half a century. The BN have been given all the chances it wanted and needed. But what have the BN achieved during their long tenure in office except undermining our unity and keeping the people apart? Our unity has been destroyed by senseless and thoughtless policies and statements without a care for the welfare of the majority of Malaysians who are peace-loving and poor.

Yes, Tun, if anybody had been given too much chance it is the BN. Indeed, what more can the BN do which they had failed to do during these 55 years? What miracles can the BN now perform to transform this country into a haven for all citizens and provide them with a dignified livelihood?

What do you actually mean by claiming, “They have been given the chance. What’s there left to try. If we allow the situation to deteriorate badly, it will be difficult to repair.”

Your rambling statement, “If we allow the situation to deteriorate badly, it will be difficult to repair” comes across as ridiculous and garrulous. What has the Pakatan done that has brought about the deterioration? What is that they are doing that would render the problem beyond repair? Please be specific and enumerate the wrongdoings of the Pakatan.

Tun, you should not make sweeping claims that are without merit. Many Malaysians are truly disappointed and disillusioned with you and justifiably feel that you have out-lived your usefulness as a political leader. You had your time and you did things the way you wanted to. That period is over and done with. There is nothing more for you to do.

Both Penang and Selangor have attracted the biggest FDI totalling more than RM15bn, which is unmatched by the BN-controlled states. Doesn’t this indicate positively that the Pakatan-controlled states are performing very much better in spite of their short term of tenure and lack of administrative experience and expertise? Honestly, dear Tun, doesn’t that deserve some praise?

You kept everything under wraps and resorted to the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to deny citizens their right to be informed. A lot of scandals and corruption prevailed because they are kept from the purview of public scrutiny and guarded as state secrets.

The Pakatan-controlled states in Selangor and Penang, on the other hand, have promulgated a Freedom of Information Act in order to be transparent and accountable. Tun, isn’t this something that has to be complimented?

Cronies and corruption

Under your tenure for 22 years, many crony politicians became wealthy beyond imagination and without being accountable for their wealth. Elected representatives and cabinet ministers declared their assets only to you and, according to certain well-informed circles, you had used this information to secure their unquestioning loyalty. That was how you had your way – it was your way and no other way!

We are reminded of the episode concerning the removal of Osman Aroff, the then Menteri Besar of Kedah, who had enjoyed the support of the majority of assembly members in Kedah. These assembly members went to see you, dear Tun, to plead for the retention of their MB. You, reportedly saw them individually and after that they all returned to Kedah abandoning Osman Aroff. Rumour had it then that you had a file on each of them and that forced them to fall in line behind you.

Dear Tun, Pakatan-controlled states of Selangor and Penang did something that you wouldn’t dare dream of doing. All their Exco members declared their assets publically. This is something that civil society of Malaysia has been campaigning for, for a very long time, claiming that this would curb corruption and check abuse of governance.

But you would not be persuaded. You wanted to be the sole privy to the corruption and abuse so that you would have absolute control over politicians holding public positions.

Many Malaysians, in the past, have worked loyally and faithfully and had contributed to the progress of this country. These old timers who retired many years ago are forced to struggle to live a hard life with their meagre pensions in these times of hardships. Their counterparts of modern times, on the other hand, draw reasonable pensions to lead a decent life. The hardships suffered by these senior citizens have not been addressed. Their contributions were not even acknowledged.

But the Pakatan government in Penang has been giving out RM100 once a year for the last three years to express their appreciation to these senior citizens. Admittedly, this isn’t very much but the very thought of appreciation really warms the hearts of these people. With the vast resources available to the BN, they are placed in a far better situation to do more to help these unfortunate people. But why, dear Tun, did the BN government not bother doing this? They could have shown a generous face and given more to these people with all the wealth at their disposal. But they did nothing!

Corruption has become so rampant that so much of our wealth is either lost or stolen to the detriment of the nation. Contracts given to crony companies with inflated costs have drained our wealth. Highway toll agreements, the Tajuddin-Malaysia Airlines out-of-court settlement, the rescue of Bank Rakyat and Bank Bumiputra, the reckless forex fiasco in the UK, the bungling Maminco tin-buying spree, to name a few – they have all resulted in the loss of billions of ringgit that could have alleviated the plight of the poor. These are, unfortunately, dear Tun, your legacies that brought terrible hardships for the homeless and the helpless.

Uplifting the people

You wouldn’t have open tenders for projects that would have saved billions of ringgit and secured the services of contractors with ability and proven expertise. That would have prevented some contractors from running away without completing their projects and ensured that buildings wouldn’t collapse because of poor workmanship and inferior materials. But repeated episodes of cheating contractors and uncompleted projects did not seem to disturb the conscience of those in charge. It was business as usual and billions of ringgit were regularly squandered without a care in the world.

On the other hand, now we have open tenders in the Pakatan states and Class F contractors are very happy and contented with this arrangement. According to these contractors, under the previous BN government, one had to have connections to get a contract and one had to give inducements to be considered favourably. Otherwise, getting contracts would have been impossible. But now, with open tenders, the deserving have been rewarded with contracts and they have delivered the completed projects on time. Isn’t this something that has to be appreciated, dear Tun?

Malaysian workers have been struggling for years for a minimum wage policy. The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has been championing this issue for decades. But it was opposed vehemently by the Malaysian Employers Federation, which wanted to reap hefty profits from the sweat of the workers. And the Malaysian government did not have the political will to implement the minimum wage policy. Thus we lost our local skilled workers and builders who left the country to work elsewhere. But the exploitation continues to this day with the employment of foreign workers.

Isn’t it praiseworthy that the Pakatan government in Selangor has implemented a minimum wage policy for all its employees in GLCs as from January this year? They are paid a minimum salary of RM1,500. Shouldn’t the employees enjoy the fruit of their labour, dear Tun?

Farmers in the new villages of Perak who have been tilling the land and growing vegetables and fruit for the country for generations were exploited and kept in a state of uncertainty as to their livelihood as they did not own the land. Every election this became a moot point for the farmers. Whether their TOL would be extended or cancelled was a worrying experience for these farmers. And when the BN wins the election in Perak, the TOL of these farmers would be renewed. The message was very clear. Vote for the BN or your TOL would not be renewed. They were beholden to the BN for the extension of their TOL.

The Pakatan government gave them the land titles and their dignity and freed them from their unnecessary anxiety. The rational was these farmers have been on the land for generations and have been serving the nation with their produce and they deserved the land titles. Isn’t this something wonderful that deserves to be congratulated, dear Tun?

Every voter who dies in Penang and Selangor is given RM1,000 and RM2,500 respectively for funeral expenses. This assistance is greatly appreciated, especially by the poor. For the first time a voter receives something very specific and substantial when he or she dies. This had never happened under BN rule. They bribe the living for their vote and forget them when they are dead. Under the Pakatan rule they take care of the living and the dead! Don’t they deserve a pat on their back, dear Tun?

All this caring and giving must make a great impact on the people. If given more time there will be other good policies that will benefit the people and perhaps make it difficult for the BN to make any headway in the future. Is that what is worrying you, dear Tun? Is this what you meant when you sounded the warning to the BN, “If we allow the situation to deteriorate, it will be difficult to repair”?

You have correctly foreseen the inevitable doom for the BN. You have realised that it will be difficult to undo the good deeds of the Pakatan. In comparison, the BN will be cast in poor light and cursed for neglecting the majority of the deserving Malaysians who are poor. You are seeing what is impending and you have the right to fear the inevitable, dear Tun!

P Ramakrishnan is the past president of Aliran

Dear America: My name is Khan. I'm not a terrorist

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan is one of the most famous men on the planet [Reuters]

He is one of the most famous men on the planet. Adored by millions. His films are almost always box office smashes. But when Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan travelled to the US on Thursday, he was detained by security for two hours while they checked out his "status".

Ironic, considering his biggest hit film was the story of a man determined to visit the US president and give him a very simple message: My Name is Khan and I'm not a terrorist.

The film is a powerful look at what it means to be Muslim in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I wonder if he told Homeland Security that he wasn't a terrorist.

He says he feels angry and humiliated. I know how he feels. In the last three years I have travelled to the US six times. Each time, bar one, I was stopped. I was asked to go to a holding facility and my passport was taken. You are asked to sit down by a polite but hostile official.

Don't use your mobile phone to call loved ones who might be waiting for you. Don't talk to the official who will studiously ignore you. Just wonder what you did to warrant such treatment.

I'm British Pakistani. I hold a British passport. I was born and brought up in the UK. I am not visibly Muslim. My religion or lack of it is my own affair and I don't have a criminal record.

Yet I feel as though that's exactly what I am. A criminal. Each time I sat in this holding facility I looked around at the people sat with me. Tired children. Harrassed parents worrying about what is going on. One time I even saw a near blind old man in wheelchair.

Occasionally I saw Europeans, but the vast majority of the time it was men between the ages of 18-45. I'm taking an educated guess with that figure. I didn't take a poll. They seemed to be of south Asian or Arab origin, and again I'm taking an educated guess.

Male. 18-45. Of south/central Asian or Arab origin. That's a massive demographic to tar with the same brush. Each time I was questioned by a Department of Homeland Security officer I was asked the same questions. What was I doing here? Who did I plan to visit?

Each time they would tell me that the procedure was routine, that they would get me out as soon as possible. From the Middle East, where I am based, to the US is a 14-hour flight. Every time I was tired, hungry and I could feel that I was about to get rattled. But shouting and getting angry would not have helped. These men are just doing the job.

It's the US that has a problem. It's simply in a tailspin when it comes to dealing with Muslims. In New York security cameras are pointed at mosques.

Recently revealed American security files show that if a cafe had a television screening Al Jazeera, then it was worthy of further investigation.

America, and I have seen this in British Muslim communities, is scaring the very people it needs to help it. Good US citizens who pay their taxes, vote and who love the country are concerned about what's happening.

I have a friend. There is nothing Muslim about her other than her name. She swears like docker and parties harder than Kanye West. She is Palestinian American. Even this young New Yorker, who is as American as it gets, right down to her Brooklyn accent, feels scared in the US.

She often says to me "Drink now, you never know when they might arrest you." She’s joking, of course. But "in vino veritas, in wine, truth" so goes the old saying.

Scared in your own country. Imagine what it feels like if you are a visitor and your first introduction to America is a welcome that says "We think you are a person worthy of further investigation". Imagine what it feels to not be able to call your loved ones who wait patiently outside the airport.

Shah Rukh Khan is one of the most famous men on the planet. He had the power of the Indian embassy to get him out of detention. We ordinary mortals are left to our own devices.

The US was brutally hurt by the events of September 11th 2001. But over a decade later it has not learned the lesson that its greatest asset is people.

If future attacks from a tiny but determined minority are to be stopped, then enlist the help and respect of those good people who share the name of the faith with the terrorists, but not their spirit.