'Moderate' Malaysia: where (non Muslim) tradition is prohibited
Posted by The Anti-Jihadist on June 28, 2012 6:49 AM
TWO Indian cultural organisations were taken by shock recently when they applied to use the auditorium of the government’s official Taman Budaya park in Penang for their classical dance concerts.
It was not so much that their applications were rejected that bothered them. What smarted was that the shows were disallowed purportedly because they contained ceremonial acts and the placement of a [non Islamic] deity on stage, which are much part and parcel of classical Indian dance.
The Taman Budaya is operated by the National Culture and Arts Department. Ironically, it is on the grounds of the birthplace of Tan Sri P. Ramlee – one of the finest liberal performance artistes to emerge from Malaysia in modern times. The auditorium is even named after him.
The National Culture and Arts Department is an arm of the Malaysian federal government. The top leadership of this government department, according to  this organization chart posted at  their website, appears to be 100% Muslim. So a government department run by Muslims wouldn't ban non Islamic deities from being portrayed in stage performances, would they? Obviously all those Muslim officials and directors and ministers are misunderstanding the tolerant, pluralistic religion of Islam somehow.
The two groups – the Temple of Fine Arts and the Penang Hindu Association – claimed to have been told that the auditorium stage must not have the relevant images and statues because of their [non Islamic] religious allusion.
But such items are integral historical and creative components of the age-old practice of disciplines such as the Bharatanatyam and the Kathakali. This is because the presentations are to a large extent based on ancient mythologies that are rooted in the cultural fabric of the shows.
And such references to ancient mythologies are common features of performing arts in other cultures. It is not only Indian dances that have such invocations. Many ancient disciplines from other civilisations also employ ceremonial or ritualistic acts.
One can see similar elements in the Beijing Opera of China, the Kabuki of Japan, the Kechak of Indonesia and Passion Play of Europe. Such elements are also ingrained in the Wayang Kulit or shadow puppet shows that have played across the Nusantara region for centuries.
So when the two groups protested that they were not allowed to hold such performances despite the features in question being traditional elements, it beguiles the mind.
It is only beguiling for those who are either blissfully unaware of the Malaysian government's real agenda, or for those who still deny the longstanding official policy of Islamic supremacy. For those who still think Islam can somehow peacefully coexist with other traditions, cultures and belief systems, look no further than Malaysia.
Article printed from Jihad Watch: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/06/moderate-malaysia-update-the-country-where-non-muslim-tradition-is-prohibited.htmlURLs in this post: