This is what constitutes “religion”, according to Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar:
“If you are to write on religion, then you are supposed to touch on matters pertaining to:
– questions on rituals,
– adherence to God,
– followers and
– anything related to your divine mission.”
It is interesting that the first thing that comes to his mind when thinking of religion is “rituals” – and not deeper spiritual values such as justice and concern for the poor.
Question for Syed Hamid:
Do God and “religion” have nothing to say about justice, human rights, social justice, corruption, and honesty in public life?
What if we see these issues as related to the religion’s “divine mission”? What if God is a God of justice who demands justice and compassion in all areas of life?
This report from theSun:
Syed Hamid on the responsibilities of a publisher
by Husna Yusop
PUTRAJAYA ( Aug 14, 2008) : Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar today reminded publishers that they must know the terms and conditions of their printing permit, and make sure they do not breach them.
“One of the most important thing that one should always remember is whatever you do must be within the terms and conditions of the law upon which you are licensed.
“If you know the conditions of your licence and it stipulates very clearly, then if you go beyond it, definitely you have breached the law,” he said.
“If you have breached the law, there is no question that should be asked. Instead you should ask me whether we are going to take action or not. But, I am not aware of the instruction,” he said after launching his ministry’s Seminar on Vital Targets (Sasaran Penting) 2008 today.
Syed Hamid was responding to questions from reporters on the issue of Catholic newsletter Herald being given a show-cause letter for writing on politics in the weekly publication.
In its latest issue, which has yet to hit the streets, it will carry an editorial on Permatang Pauh.
A Ministry official had said that they will decide in a week or two whether to suspend or revoke Herald’s publication permit.
Syed Hamid said he was not aware of the instructions said to have been issued to Herald.
When suggested that politics and by-election are a part of people’s daily life, therefore it is not against the law to write about Permatang Pauh as Herald’s permit allowed it to write about religion and daily life, Syed Hamid said:
“If you start to interpret, everything can be broadened. It is a relative and subjective situation.
“If you are to write on religion, then you are supposed to touch on matters pertaining to questions on rituals, adherence to God, followers and anything related to your divine mission.
“If you go beyond that, definitely you have committed some breaches.”
Asked whether he is concerned that Herald was writing on by-election, he said: “Whatever it is, the most important condition for everybody is to be responsible citizens. You must add value to forging unity and cohesion within our society.
“If you apply for a licence to write about religion, we expect you to do that. If you go beyond, we have to look whether you have breached or not because everyone can argue this is a matter of interest, therefore it affects our religion. But I think if you mix religion with politics, then you can create a lot of misunderstandings.”
Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew had maintained that the articles published in its weekly are in line with basic rights guaranteed under Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution.
“I am puzzled by the Home Ministry’s show-cause letters received since March 10,” he had said.
Herald is circulated to some 12,000 Catholics nationwide.