This was my fifth and final post as PopMuda in PopIN:

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When the Federal Constitution was drafted, it was made very clear that Malaysia is a secular state, and Islam was only the official religion. Malaysia was never an Islamic state.

How come in 2007, the then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak boldly claimed that Malaysia was “never a secular state but an Islamic nation”?

Somewhere along the way from Independence, Islam took root in the governance and up until now, lobbyists constantly seek to declare Malaysia as an Islamic country. The religious status quo is fast becoming the authority—albeit one that tries to dictate the lives of Malaysians: disregarding personal rights, liberties, freedom of thought, and trampling over unbelievers.

Earlier this week, an ex-mufti was arrested for speaking up. Before that, Islamic vigilantes harrassed some youths—supposedly for “khalwat”—in their own home.

A concert was (shortly) banned for Muslims, and many others were cancelled—most likely the direct result of the senseless regulations. Unjust whipping is on the cards for a Muslim woman drinking beer.

Bibles using the word “Allah” were confiscated without explanation. Muslims led a protest against the relocation of a Hindu temple, calling for blood and desecrating a Hindu icon.

Muslims around the country seem to suffer from a victim complex, paranoid that everyone is out to get them. Every act is an offensive insult, disrespect and contempt by people manipulated by “enemies of Islam”

In their retaliation, voices get silenced, critics get persecuted, creativity is stifled.

These are all reasons why I am adamant that powers should not fall to Islamic moralists. Looking from the outside, it is clear that all the affronts violate sense and so many rights, but to the religionists, they actually believe that they’re doing it for God.

What can you say to someone who’s convinced that he’s doing the work of God? There is no reasoning.

To circumvent this, Malaysia should reassert its identity as a secular country. Becoming secular is not to reject religion. Instead, it just means that there should be a separation between it and the state. The government should not have a hand in, or interfere with religion (or lack of one).

I am weary of those who accuse that by not being religious, Malaysia will morally crumble and fall apart.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Denmark and Sweden.

Spend some time watching this video. It’s an interview with Phil Zuckerman, who wrote the book Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment:

Denmark and Sweden are the two most secular countries in the world, and they have among the lowest rates of crime. It is also not a secret that standards of living in Scandinavian country is really high.

The least religious country, CAN also be the happiest country. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

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I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the PopIN team for having me as PopMuda this whole week. It has been wicked!

If you enjoy my short stint, do follow Unscientific Malaysia, and join our FB fan page. We are in need of writers, contributors and supporter.

I also blog at Coffee Conversations and tweet compulsively @zurairi.

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