Hornbill Unleashed

September 14, 2016

The failure of religious education

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 9:01 PM

Dr-Ahmad-Farouk-Musa-1The Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) has called for a revamp of religious education to make it effective in addressing social problems such as illegitimate births.

Speaking to FMT, IRF Director Ahmad Farouk Musa alleged that the current curriculum for Islamic education placed too much emphasis on the performance of rituals at the expense of giving students a proper understanding of the philosophy behind the rituals.

Referring to the issue of premarital sex, he said it was apparent that the current approach to religious education had been ineffective.

He cited statistics from 2012 which showed that Malay parents were responsible for “slightly more than 50 per cent” of children born out of wedlock.

“If we look at the school curriculum, Muslim students are subjected to Islamic Studies and non-Muslims to Moral Studies.

“Theoretically, there showed be fewer children born out of wedlock to Muslim couples than to non-Muslims.”

Farouk was commenting on a Berita Harian report that said 159,725 children had been born out of wedlock to Muslim mothers since 2013. The report used statistics from the National Registration Department.

Berita Harian also mentioned a proposal by Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia official Norsaleha Mohd Salleh for the Education Ministry to increase the amount of time allotted for Islamic Studies and Moral Studies at all levels in school.

Farouk, however, said the problem needed to be handled in a more holistic manner.

He said those who believed in taking the religious path towards solving the problem must look at what was lacking in the current Islamic education scheme.

“We are now more concerned with halal and haram than with ethics and morality or the philosophy behind the rituals,” he said.

“For example, the first chapter of any book on Islamic jurisprudence deals with the cleansing of oneself. But why do we have an ummah that is considered one of the most filthy?

“The reason is that we do not understand the ethics and morality of the teachings. We look at the rituals, but not the philosophy and moral values associated with them. So, we do not apply them to our daily lives. That’s what is lacking in this society.”

Farouk suggested a multidisciplinary educational approach as a means of preventing out-of-wedlock pregnancies. He said sex education should be one of the disciplines in the approach.

Pointing to studies showing that many teenagers were ignorant about the causes of pregnancy, he said they should be taught “not only how to avoid getting pregnant, but everything related to sex, including contraception, abstinence and sexually transmitted diseases.”

He added: “The most important thing is to let them talk about attitudes towards sex and behaviours associated with it, instead of sweeping these matters under the carpet.”

Woman’s Aid Organisation Communications Officer Tan Heang-Lee argued for the conduct of sex education as a stand alone subject at all levels of education, from primary to tertiary.

She said the curriculum must cover both the biological and psycho-social aspects of sexual health.

“There’s often the misconception that sex education encourages young people to experiment with sex,” she told FMT. “In actual fact, it encourages responsible and informed decisions regarding sexual health.”

Tan also called for the expansion of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. This would include access to contraceptives, she said.

She noted that Malaysians lagged behind other Southeast Asians in the use of contraceptives.

“According to a 2015 United Nations report, the use of contraceptives among married or in-union Malaysian women aged 15 to 49 is only at 57.1 per cent whereas the Southeast Asian average is 64 percent.

“Meanwhile, 15.4 per cent of married or in-union Malaysian women aged 15 to 49 have an unmet need for family planning. The Southeast Asian average is 12 per cent.”

Nawar Firdaws




  1. read some where 8O% of drug addicts are ketuanan, WHY…?…lol

    Comment by tiuniamah — September 15, 2016 @ 4:20 PM | Reply

  2. Moderates must speak up — Mohd Sheriff bin Mohd Kassim

    Historians have noted that it took only a few evil men to use the ideology of hate and the promise of eternal glory to justify the atrocities that killed millions of people in Europe and in Asia during the last world war. The majority of the population were good people and totally innocent of the crimes but by their silence, they allowed the atrocities to happen on such an unprecedented scale.

    Years after the war, and even today, people are still asking how such state-sponsored terror could have happened in the twentieth century. The young of today feel ashamed and disgusted that the previous generation did not do anything to stop the madness before their countries were plunged into war, with disastrous consequences. The lesson learned from what happened not so long ago is that it takes only a few to do terrible damage to the country if the majority who are good people are complacent and do not care about defending the values that make us a united Malaysian nation.

    Muslim countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and in this region are seeing the same ambivalence among the moderate majority in the population, allowing the few who claim they know about religion to use it as an ideology in their violent crusade to change the society and eventually the country, from secularism and democracy to Islamism and theocracy. In many of these countries, the poor, the angry unemployed youths and the social misfits are easily attracted to the call for jihad, especially those who have been indoctrinated from young in their religious education to hate everything that originates from the West, like human rights, constitutional freedoms, music, pop culture, art exhibitions, statues and sculptures, St Valentine’s Day, Christmas celebration, yoga etc. These values and artistic pleasures are denounced by extremists as liberal ideas and alien cultures which have no place in the Islamic state. The chaos and internal instability which follow the rise of religious extremism to change the value system towards religiosity create so much gloom and despair that many of the best people in Muslim countries simply give up and migrate to western countries.

    In Malaysia, we have a relatively socially advanced society as a result of the country’s economic modernisation and its exposure to external influences. Further, its racial and cultural diversity, the higher level of urbanisation and the bigger size of the middle class compared to other Muslim countries make Malaysians feel at ease with modern lifestyles and social interactions among the races. Its education system is basically secular in content and there is no hate ideology in it. The young can find jobs and absolute poverty is practically non-existent. The government’s caring policies have shielded the poorer population from the difficulties of daily life. All these factors help to insulate the country from extremism.

    Nevertheless, the growing tide of religious excesses and intolerance for diversity is a cause for worry especially with the close alliance between race, religion and politics, which is creating suspicion that the national leaders are knowingly allowing the conservative ulama to dictate their strict interpretation of Islam and their social values on us Muslims. The silent majority among Malaysians are watching with concern at the Arabanisation of Malay-Muslim society because if this trend accelerates, it will create divisions among the Malays, with the extremists calling themselves true followers of Islam and labelling others as infidels. When Muslims are divided along sectarian lines, the potential for conflict is very great.

    As we are seeing in the Middle East today, when Muslims fight each other in their sectarian wars, they will find somebody to be the scapegoats for their failures. Usually, it’s the Jews and the Christians who get blamed. We are seeing that in Malaysia too. When a Muslim is seen in the compound of a church, the whole Christian community is accused of conspiring to subvert Islam. States compete with each other to issue fatwas to ban everything that is associated with western values, not realising that Christianity or imperialism has nothing to do with these values. Those who criticise the religious bullying are threatened with the Sedition Act. If the critics are Chinese or Indians, they are called ungrateful pendatang as an insult.

    We must not allow sectarianism and intolerance to grow their tentacles in our country and therefore we must speak up for moderation in Islam and mutual respect in our race relations, as loudly as we can. We the moderates must speak up now before it’s too late. Let it not be said by the future generation that the majority who are moderates and liberal have allowed the few who are extremists and narrow minded to destroy the country.

    Comment by Jeremy — September 15, 2016 @ 10:27 AM | Reply

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