Promoting an understanding of Islam that recognises the principles of
justice, equality, freedom, and dignity within a democratic nation state

Speech by Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir (Daughter of Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad)
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Let me tell you what I, as a mother of two daughters, stay up late at night worrying about. I worry that the inquiring minds of my daughters will be shut down because they are asking the wrong question, which is Why? They ask why is it that the Islam that my mother says is fair and just is not behaving in that way?” And people will tell them that they should simply not ask, it is not for them to ask.

I worry that one day their hearts will be broken by men they love, who betray them in cruel ways such as those we've heard about today. I worry that they will come to believe that the men in this country are encouraged to be untrustworthy, to be disloyal, to be unkind to those they should love and cherish. They will again ask Why? and will be told that that's the way it is.

I worry that they will be judged simply by the way they dress, as if Islam is reduced to merely the superficial. That their path will be strewn by the bitterness of those who insist that they will never be Muslim enough simply because they are who they are - young women who can never hide their intelligence, who will not conform just for the sake of conforming.

Most of all I worry that their perception of Islam will be coloured by the bitter and the ugly, the tyrannical, the cruel and never sweetened by the compassionate, the gentle, the inclusive. I worry about how young people like them, who cannot help but see the many injustices perpetuated in the name of Islam, will find themselves driven away from what is a beautiful and just religion, simply because it does not make them feel good.

My hope for the future is that the Islam that I grew up with, where we were taught to love God as much as fear Him, will be rejuvenated because human beings remember that God sees men and women as equal. That flawed man-made laws are never touted as perfect because only God can be perfect.

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