She is the daughter of an ex-long serving and respected Malaysian Prime Minister, a sister to Kedah Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) and a woman of her own. I salute you Marina for your character, strength of purpose and for your outspokenness in the country gone bonkers.
Marina as we all know was educated in the United Kingdom and that is where her strong sense of fairness and justice comes from. Had she been educated in some crappy Middle Eastern University, she would have been covered in hijab and dutifully follows whatever the people, especially the men of her faith say and decide.
I have interacted with people who studied in Western universities and those in countries such as Egypt,Iraq (yes, during Saddam Hussein’s presidency, University of Baghdad was quite famous) and Turkey. They tend to have different outlooks. Those Western educated guys seem to be more liberal in their thinking, more embracing and more accommodative and of course more interesting to interact with. Those from the Middle East are more introverted, authoritarian in attitude, controlling in nature and fixed in their thinking process apart from their donning Arab-like garbs.
Now, back to Marina who is now being hammered by extremist organisation like PERKASA, read here in Bahasa Malaysia and here in English for defending the use of the word Allah by the non-Muslims. Some tend to blame her parents for “not bringing her up well”, which I take it to mean not bringing her up to toe the line and be “robotic”.
Marina has her principle and to label her as defending non-Muslims and disobeying the ruler who made the “decree” on the exclusive use of the word Allah by Muslims, is to my mind outrageous. She is merely being non-political in the true sense of the word. Those whose existence is ostensibly justified by appearing to be more “Islamic” are doing so for their permanent interests (thinking Malaysians know who these people are) . And Marina has no such interests, she is, in fact, being true to her conscience. For her stance, she is accused of being a liberal Malay.
The term “liberal” here is used in a belligerent manner on those who do not subscribe to extremism, to controlling others and to forcing others to be like them. The need to control people has become our national pastime. They even want to control what people want to call their God.
To me it’s the so-called liberals who will save the world from mindless extremism. And of course the quasi religious would say, yes, this world but not the Hereafter. But if these people so want to live happily in the Hereafter in heavenly joy and surrounded by angels, why don’t they go there much earlier and leave us to enjoy what this world has to offer and let our God and not mere human beings judge us?
Extremism is destructive through the corrosion and erosion of the mind. We should not allow extremism to entrench and threaten our liberty.
At a time of weak political leadership, we need many more “Marinas” to prick our conscience and defend the freedom of worship as enshrined in our Constitution.