Recently, the issue of Johor government officers going undercover as cooks and waiters to catch Muslims who do not fast during Ramadan has made international headlines.
Several NGOs condemned the move, saying it is “shameful and gives the wrong impression of Islam in the eyes of fellow Muslims and people from other faiths.”
The constant enforcement by Islamic officials to ensure Muslims in Malaysia observe Islam has also caught the attention of Malaysian socio-political activist Marina Mahathir.
Taking to Twitter, she praises how western Muslims fast for long hours, even without the strict enforcement of religious ‘police’.
Macam mana orang Islam di negara Barat boleh puasa sampai pukul 9 mlm tiap2 hari, dikelilingi orang yang tak puasa, tanpa di intip atau di tangkap oleh jabatan agama mana2 ya? Hairan betul…aqidah depa terer bukan macam kita kot?
— Marina Mahathir (@netraKL) May 24, 2019
In her tweet, she writes,
“I have always wondered how Muslims in the west can fast until 9pm daily surrounded by those who are not fasting. They do it without the constant supervision of the religious police, with no fear of being spied on or caught for not fasting.”
“It is truly astounding…their faith must be strong, unlike us, right?”
Her tweet, which seems to take a swipe at the more conservative stance taken by Islamic officials to catch those who skip fasting has garnered much attention on social media.
her point is clear: If Muslims overseas can manage themselves just fine, why do need millions of Ringgit worth of taxpayer money to fund religious authorities every year?
One netizen commented on how overseas Muslims are even able to don the hijab even without constant supervision. Religion is obviously a personal thing, and it is up to the individual Muslim to ensure their aqidah and faith are strong.
“I have always wondered how Muslims overseas can wear the hijab and modest clothing when all around them are not doing the same.”
Someone caught the sarcasm Marina was employing and chimed in.
“You need to remember, sis, Malaysians are descendants of angels.”
Islam in Malaysia is slowly becoming more and more conservative, and monitoring by religious officials will only increase in the future unless something changes.
Is Islam in Malaysia becoming less tolerant because of the enforcement? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section.
Also read: 102 People Kena Kantoi Eating in Public Locations in Johor, Get Arrested for Not Fasting