In defense of Eric Paulsen

Eric Paulsen

Umar Mukhtar

So Eric Paulsen may be charged under the Sedition Act. What a pity, for he presumably meant well for the sake of racial harmony in Malaysia. But in spite of his big title of a grandiosely-named organisation he failed to understand the basic rules of public advocacy.

1. Lawyers are careful of hearsay. Or did Paul attend the Friday prayers himself and absorbed the militant prevalent atmosphere during those sermons? Enough for him to form a personal opinion to propagate?

2. You have to do the right things the right way. Don’t mess with things you don’t understand. We don’t comment on tne Pope’s Easter mass nor do we comment on the Festival of Nine Gods as preparing Malaysians for the gory bloodied scenes in preparation for another May 13. Ridiculous? Yes, that’s how naive you sounded! There are many available right ways you can express your so-called concerns.

3. Friday sermons in an open democratic mosque comprise all levels of society. From the mentally-challenged to the super-intellectual. It must necessarily be of across-the-board language. Each will absorb his own way. If we don’t like what was said, we approach the mosque committee to understand why. We do not conclude and publicize. It is not the Islamic way.

I remember one busy afternoon I took time off to go hear a Friday sermon that talked about hygiene and suggested that if the eggs used by Mamak shops are not washed first for roti telur, they are haram in the context of Islamic cooking. In the middle of a busy Friday? But I realized that some portion of our society needs to be reminded that the eggs did pass through the chickens’ ass. I did wonder though why I never saw my mother wash eggs, unless the supermarket already did!

The point of the matter is, do not sound like Mr. Know-all if it’s out of your cultural ambit. It is insulting, more so if you choose to attack the administration and not the people. Sounded like you want to win the people over! You have an agenda? Whatever it is, please keep religion out of it. It is already messy.

Will your tweet cause a racial riot? I don’t think so. But your head deserves to be knuckled for simply being stupid and unbecoming of your position in your aggrandized organization. Replace the Sediton Act, by all means, one reason already proven. It is an overkill for banishing ignorance and stupidity.

Only in Malaysia.