Friday, September 29, 2006

"Multicultural Rejoinder"

Kam Weng has replied to recent letters in Malaysiakini and Utusan Malaysia debunking "multiculturalism" in his blog here.

"Md Asham fails to distinguish the difference between acknowledging an indisputable historical fact that the Constitution is secular in regulating inter-religious affairs and accepting secularism as a worldview or ideology. The adoption of a ‘qualified-secular’ framework for the Constitution to manage harmony between various religions is based on a political concept of fairness. In the words of John Rawls, “A political conception of justice is justified by reference to political values and should not be pressed as part of a more ‘comprehensive’ moral, religious, or philosophical doctrine.” Based on this distinction, Md Asham is mistaken in suggesting that I am pushing for secularism as a comprehensive ideology/worldview. It would help if Md Asham understands that one can uphold a secular framework for the Constitution without having to commit oneself to the ideology of secularism.

I have heard some Muslims argue that they cannot adopt such an approach towards framing political policy since Islam, unlike other religions, is a comprehensive way of life. In this matter I can only say – give credit where credit is due. The fact is that all religions (especially the major religions like Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism) are complete ways of life. The difference is that leaders from the various religions, at least in the case of Malaya/Malaysia, have taken the way of overlapping consensus that requires one to refrain from insisting that public life must cater for one’s own comprehensive religious demands."

Read on

No comments: