Another oxymoron possible only in the Islamic world, since “forums” both connote and denote an open, public space, that includes the people — ho demos, the essence of democracy. Why all the secrecy, the need to keep things hidden? To keep the story of a Chinese man who, against his family’s wishes, who insist he did not convert, was buried as a Muslim? Or the man who tried desperately hard to convert to Christianity but was forbidden (including, of course, with the usual death threats)? Or the woman who never truly converted, but was forced to stay in the fold of Islam? “Not Proper To Hold Conversion To Islam Forum Openly, Says DPM,” from MySinchew, August 7:
SUBANG: Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said it was not proper for Bar Council to hold the forum on “Conversion to Islam” issues openly.
He added it was not proper to hold this forum in Malaysia because it was a sensitive issue.
“If people want to discuss about this issue, it is better to talk about it behind closed doors, but not openly,” Najib told reporters after launching the Vista Jet and Skypark Malaysia’s Fixed Based Operation (FBO) at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, here Thursday (7 Aug).[…]
The public forum is expected to touch, among other things, on a provision in the Federal Constitution which stipulates that the courts have no jurisdiction on matters which are within the Syariah Courts jurisdiction.
The forum is also expected to discuss on several conversion cases in the country.
Najib insisted that government did not prevent anyone from holding forums because issue discussion was a good phenomenon. However, it was better to discuss sensitive issues behind closed door. (Sin Chew Daily)