Transcript of Nurul Izzah’s Q&A at forum

1Christians Malaysia

Last Saturday’s forum in Subang Jaya, on the topic ‘Islamic state: Which version? Whose responsibility?’, was jointly organised by the Oriental Hearts and Minds Study Institute and Islamic Renaissance Front.

At the forum, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar had said that there was “no compulsion in religion” when responding to a question from a member of the audience on whether religious freedom also applied to Malays.

This was reported by Malaysiakini under the headline, ‘Nurul: There should be no compulsion in choosing faith.’

NONENurul Izzah had also said, in her reply to the question, that she was “tied to the prevailing views” in the country.

On Monday, Utusan Malaysia attacked Nurul Izzah for her comments at the forum in a report on its front page, and quoted the Malaysiakini report in the article headlined ‘Melayu perlu bebas pilih agama?’ (Should Malays be free to choose religion?).

Subsequently, Nurul Izzah was accused of advocating apostasy among Muslims – a claim she has vehemently denied and has threatened law suits against both Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who also stepped into the row through a Bernama report yesterday, questioned why the Lembah Pantai MP was suing the two dailies, but not Malaysiakini.

Here, Malaysiakini produces the transcript of the event, during the period Nurul Izzah responded to questions from the floor.

She took the questions ahead of other speakers because she had to leave early.

Question 1: It’s heartening to know that you just cannot coerce someone into believing your beliefs, right? On any matter.
Now, I do want to ask a very controversial question, so what then the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community) here or the sexual minority here?
I’d like your views on that because there are people who feel that just by being able to love the same sex goes against their religion or beliefs, but we don’t believe that.
Our own beliefs are such that we are answerable to God, yes, but let us be answerable to God. Thanks.

YB Nurul can you… all right, we’ll have one more, just one more question, then she’ll answer both then take leave. Yes.

Question 2: I’m very happy to hear YB Nurul speak about freedom of religion. Does she actually apply that to Malays as well in terms of freedom of religion? That is number one.
Number two, I think it is a fallacy to believe that Egypt now is (in) a better condition than it was before. Everybody knows that it is getting worse.
I have a friend in Egypt and she is really not happy about what is going on over there, so I do believe YB is trying to promote the idea of an Islamic state, like you know this which is completely not true.
But mainly my question is, when you speak of freedom of religion, are you actually applying to the Malays as well? Thanks.

Moderator: Well YB Nurul, that’s a good way to start the morning.
The audience laughs.

Moderator: You have two questions of great import at two ends of the spectrum. Could you try to answer that, please.

Nurul Izzah:
Thank you, Cyrus, I love too.

The audience laughs.