Malaysia: Muslim activists: Dr M’s daughter, Ambiga masterminds behind ‘anti-Islam’ NGO

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) accused today Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan of supporting a local human rights coalition called Comango, whose demands the Islamist group said were a threat to Islam.

Isma distributed 70,000 leaflets at mosques throughout the country after Friday prayers today that slammed Comango for calling for the freedom to renounce Islam; the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) rights; the removal of Malay privileges; the freedom to embrace Syiah teachings; and the right for Catholics to refer to God as “Allah”, among other things.

“The leaflets were meant to explain to Muslims about Comango’s demands that threaten the position of Islam in Malaysia and how it’s backed by liberal figures and 54 anti-Islam NGOs,” said Isma on its website today.

Comango is the acronym for the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the Universal Periodic Review Process, which had come under fire from several Muslim activists here who claim the group’s human rights recommendations to the United Nations ran counter to the “true” teachings of Islam.

“Those who are behind it include Bersih chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan, Malaysiakini (chief executive officer) Premesh Chandran, Sisters in Islam board director Marina Mahathir, Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez, Suaram executive director Cynthia Gabriel, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) (director) Sonia Randhawa, Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movements (DEMA) secretary Yong Kin Yin, Suaram director Kua Kia Soong, and… Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general, S. Arutchelvan,” it added.

The leaflets featured pictures of Marina, the eldest daughter of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad; Ambiga, a prominent lawyer and co-chairman of election reform group Bersih 2,0; and the others named in Isma’s list.

The Islamist activist group also named several non-government organisations as supporting Comango, highlighting Malaysia’s umbrella group, which represents over 90 per cent of churches here at the top of its list.

“The NGOs involved are the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), Seksualiti Merdeka, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), Sisters in Islam (SIS), Pusat KOMAS, Association of Kindergarten Teachers in Peninsular Malaysia, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Childline Malaysia, and many more,” said Isma.

Isma also claimed that only 12 of the 54 NGOs in Comango are registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

The Islamist group urged Putrajaya last Monday to Comango’s proposals at the United Nation’s (UN) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva recently.

Isma deputy president Aminuddin Yahya said the recommendations were an affront to religious sanctity and the sovereignty of the Federal Constitution for insisting on religious freedom, LGBT rights, the right of a Muslim to be an apostate and the removal of Malay privileges.

Isma, which has since signed on with a coalition of Muslim NGOs called MuslimUPRo, had also accused Comango of attempting to spread “liberalism teachings” backed by Western powers.

Comango countered that their report was merely an effort to encourage Malaysia to prove its commitment towards improving the lot of all Malaysians via the UPR.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, however, said last Tuesday that his administration is willing to listen to views “from all sectors” on human rights issues, but noted that such views must be in line with the founding principles of the country.