Don’t worry, I’m not con­tam­i­nated

The Week (US) - - News 15 - June Wong

The Star

Mus­lim Malaysians have be­come way too fas­tid­i­ous about re­li­gious pu­rity, said June Wong. Last month, two Malay laun­dro­mat own­ers de­cided to refuse ser­vice to non-Mus­lims, say­ing their cus­tomers need to be con­fi­dent that they aren’t shar­ing a washer with some­one whose clothes might be cov­ered in ba­con grease. Most Mus­lim cler­ics say the mi­nus­cule chance of in­ad­ver­tent con­tact with for­bid­den ma­te­ri­als does not war­rant dis­crim­i­na­tion, and the rulers of the two Malaysian states where the busi­nesses are based agreed. “This is not a Tal­iban state,” said Sul­tan Ibrahim Ibni Al­marhum Sul­tan Iskan­dar of Jo­hor state. “I find this ac­tion to be to­tally un­ac­cept­able.” The laun­dro­mat

own­ers quickly scrapped their re­li­gious bans. But a grow­ing num­ber of Mus­lims still be­lieve “that it is best to avoid con­tact with non-Mus­lims.” Malaysia is about 50 per­cent Malays, who are mostly Mus­lims, and 30 per­cent Chi­nese or In­di­ans, who are mostly Bud­dhist, Chris­tian, or Hindu. When I was a child, my fam­ily would share food with neigh­bors from other re­li­gions. To­day, my Malay neigh­bors won’t eat any meals I pre­pare, not trust­ing an eth­nic Chi­nese to of­fer them halal choices. We’re start­ing to see Mus­lim-only shop­ping carts and drink­ing cups. Will we no longer be able to sit next to one an­other on trains or hand each other bills and coins? Will Mus­lims “seek to seg­re­gate us?”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.