Prince Charles issued a Christmas message to the people of his country on radio. In his short speech, the Prince of Wales reminded the world that like Jesus, the Prophet of Islam, Mohammed, too, fled religious persecution at home.
“We might also remember that when the prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina he was seeking the freedom for himself and his followers to worship,” he said.
In impeccable English ameliorated by a baritone British accent, the future monarch of the United Kingdom remarked, “Whichever religious path we follow, the destination is the same – to value and respect the other person, accepting their right to live out their peaceful response to the love of God.”
Yes, there is nothing wrong in what Prince Charles said. To a human being brought up in a liberal world, all religions take the follower to the same destination.
The problem is that Prince Charles’ words are NOT going to change the mind of Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, who in 2015 banned the celebration of Christmas.
The reason was simple: it is anti-Islamic to practise or celebrate any non-Islamic festival in an Islamic country. With that order, which remains in force to date, almost 20-30 per cent of Brunei’s non-Muslim population was curtly told that their faith is meaningless, nay, worthless in Brunei.
Anyone in Brunei faces a jail term of five years if found celebrating Christmas publically.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs had said in a statement, “These enforcement measures are…intended to control the act of celebrating Christmas excessively and openly, which could damage the aqidah (beliefs) of the Muslim community.”
Had a Christian country banned Eid celebrations, that country would have been hounded by the self-proclaimed ‘liberal-secular’ media and intellectuals. But Brunei’s ban on Christmas did not come in for any criticism, forget brutal editorial slamming. Why? Two reasons: One, Brunei is an oil-rich country in Southeast Asia, and, two, it is an Islamic country, so has the RIGHT to do what it did.
Brunei is the fifth in the world by GDP per capita. But Sultan Bolkiah and his religious force is increasingly turning Brunei into another Saudi Arabia – a regressive, Islamist State with almost no rights for any non-Muslim.
And even though some celebrities from the West opposed it in 2014, Bolkiah will complete the three phase introduction of the Sharia Law in his country by June 2018.
Meanwhile, the liberals remain busy finding Islamophobes.