Salim Osman took chances appreciating ’s remark on .
He explained the definition of Malay identity :
- In Article 160, of Malaysia’s Federal Constitution, Malays habitually speak Malay language, conform to Malay customs and embrace Islam. Islam has been part and parcel of Malay culture since the 15th century. The Sultan of Malacca at that time converted to Islam and ordered the rakyat to embrace the new faith from the old faiths which was Hinduism.
- In Article 11 of the Constitution, it stated that Islam is the religion of the federation, and people are free to practise and propagate their beliefs. But the Constitution bans the propagation of religion other than Islam to Muslims. Furthermore in reality, Islam is the choice of their religion. Writer Steve Oh in Malaysiakini wrote that Malays thinking must be exposed to various ideas including different religions. Otherwise, their thinking will be permanently confined under Islamic influence only.
- The advocating of religious freedom led the hindrance for Malay society to get involved in inter-faith marriages.
- The Syariah law does not recognise inter-faith marriage unless the bride and groom are Muslims.
- The Court however, would grant a Muslim convert’s application to return to their former religion. But to the Malays, who are born Muslims they are not allowed to do so. The rationale is to stop the community’s fear of apostasy.
- Even other Muslim countries treat apostasy as a crime with heavy punishment like death and long imprisonment to denial of legal rights. Malaysiarecognises the freedom of religion but not to the expense of converting Muslims to other faiths without Syariah’s procedures. Malay- born Muslims practically uphold the faith of Islam as religion of their options.
It seems that Salim Osman does not really criticise Nurul Izzah’s remark about Malays who could also practise religious freedom. Instead, he brings up only points that support Nurul Izzah’s rebellious opinions on pro-pluralism.