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Inaccurate and sensational? June 2, 2007

Posted by Tim in Malaysia, News, Religion.

The clown we have for an Information Minister strikes again:

“I hope local journalists will not dance to the tune of their foreign counterparts.

“There are local journalists who think too highly of the foreign media, and to me, this demonstrates an inferiority complex,” he said when launching the Malaysia Creative competition organised by Bernama here.

Referring to the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) article titled “Malaysia Rejects Christian Appeal” on the Lina Joy’s court decision carried on its news portal yesterday, he said the piece was inaccurate and sensational.

Inaccurate and sensational? Look up the BBC piece in question and see for yourself:

Malaysia rejects Christian appeal

Is the headline inaccurate and sensational? Does Zainuddin think that Lina Joy is not a Christian?

Malaysia’s highest court has rejected a Muslim convert’s six-year battle to be legally recognised as a Christian.

How is this inaccurate and sensational?

A three-judge panel ruled that only the country’s Sharia Court could let Azlina Jailani, now known as Lina Joy, remove the word Islam from her identity card.

How is this inaccurate and sensational? BBC even left out the fact that the sole dissenter was the only non-Muslim on the panel.

Malaysia’s constitution guarantees freedom of worship but says all ethnic Malays are Muslim. Under Sharia law, Muslims are not allowed to convert.

How is this inaccurate and sensational?

Ms Joy said she should not be bound by that law as she is no longer a Muslim.

How is this inaccurate and sensational?

Malaysia’s Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the panel endorsed legal precedents giving Islamic Sharia courts jurisdiction over cases involving Muslims who want to convert.

How is this inaccurate and sensational?

About 200 protesters shouted “Allah-o-Akbar” (God is great) outside the court when the ruling was announced.

How is this inaccurate and sensational? Many other reports confirm this number.

“You can’t at whim and fancy convert from one religion to another,” Ahmad Fairuz said.

Ms Joy’s case has tested the limits of religious freedom in Malaysia.

She started attending church in 1990 and was baptised in 1998.

In 2000, Ms Joy, 42, went to the High Court after the National Registration Department refused to remove “Islam” from the religion column on her identity card. The court said it was a matter for Sharia courts. Tuesday’s ruling marked the end of her final appeal.

Ms Joy has been disowned by her family and forced to quit her job. She went into hiding last year. A Muslim lawyer who supported her case received death threats.

How is this inaccurate and sensational?

Sharia courts decide on civil cases involving Malaysian Muslims – nearly 60% of the country’s 26 million people – while ethnic minorities such as Chinese and Indians are governed by civil courts in the multi-racial country.

How is this inaccurate and sensational?

I doubt that our “Information” Minister even read the report. “Dancing to the tune of their foreign counterparts?” Just because the foreign media doesn’t dance to your tune (mentions of the case in today’s papers is scant, even in letter columns. It’s like it didn’t happen), that doesn’t mean they are “inaccurate”.

“Inferiority complex” – Oho, now our newspapers are the paragon of journalism. If our local papers didn’t syndicate their “foreign counterparts”, we wouldn’t have any World or IT sections btw.



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