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Full Steam Ahead As ‘I Am #26’ Online Petition Collects 2,000 Signatures

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KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of Malaysians have rallied behind the 25 prominent Malays who had come under fire from several groups after they had called for a stop to extremism.

Two days after going online, petition “I am #26” has heated up cyberspace with signatures pouring in to urge the 25 prominent Malays to keep going, and not be discouraged by voices of extremism trying to drown their work.

As at 7pm yesterday, the petition had garnered about 2,000 signatures, from mostly Malays who denounced extremism.

The woman behind the move, known only as Lyana Khairuddin, said the petition was in support of the stand taken by the group of 25, by standing in solidarity with them as “number 26”.

The group of 25, comprising mostly former top civil servants, ambassadors, academics and civil rights activists, had issued a joint statement calling for a consultative process on the position and application of Islamic laws in the country.

Their statement, which was carried in The Star on Dec 8, said there was an urgent need for the Government to review Syariah laws.

They were criticised by certain groups, saying their views did not represent the majority Malay community.

The five-point petition, which would be sent to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, includes a call for the review of the Syariah criminal laws in Malaysia.

It said the dual legal system had led to conflicts and overlaps between Syariah and civil laws, adding that it was also in conflict with Islamic legal principles and constituted a violation of fundamental liberties.

It said that any law, including the Islamic laws, could not violate the Federal Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land when it comes to fundamental liberties, federal-state division of powers and legislative procedures.

Farah Dayana said she signed the petition because she was concerned with the path the country was taking.

Rafique Ali Ahmad Nordin from Seremban said: “I want everyone to stop politicising Islam or any religion, for that matter.”

Mohd Nawayai Yasak, from Malacca, added: “I do not want an extremist to be my spokesman for Islam. I am the so-called ‘silent majority’. I won’t be silent anymore.”

Alvin Fernandez, a Christian, said he believed Islam to be a beautiful religion.

“I am a Christian and my best friends are Muslims; so are my colleagues and neighbours. I believe Islam is a beautiful religion. I am a Malaysian and I love my country,” said Fernandez from Subang Jaya.-The Star

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