BBC (Malaysia) is to rebroadcast “Whack-O”, to show that British culture is compatible with Sharia caning
In the 1950s the BBC thought that flagellation was good family entertainment. “Whack-O” was a comedy that centered around a drunken headmaster (Jimmy Edwards) whacking his pupils on the backside with a cane. In those days boys were regularly beaten for heinous behaviour such as making mistakes in arithmetic or not wearing a cap in the school yard.
Then times changed. Everybody got a calculator so nobody needed to learn arithmetic. Caps went out of fashion so nobody needed to wear one in the school yard. So, schoolboy flagellation went out of vogue. Jimmy Edwards (who was a homosexual before it became fashionable) wrote a auto-biography, “Six of the Best”, and made a film, “Bottoms Up”, and then passed into obscurity.
Now, its gone full circle. Neo-Liberal, Post-Feminist, Alt-Muslim, Fetishists’ Rights, Anti-Trump, Politically Correct Ideas have become the norm with BBC types. So, we find that Sharia Law is now avant-garde and that “caning is the new black”.
A story from the, normally dull as ditch-water, Economist (Sept 2016):
Malaysia’s government is stirring up religious tensions to distract attention from its own shortcomings
FOR decades Malaysia’s Islamist opposition party, PAS, has been agitating for the adoption of bloodthirsty Islamic punishments, such as amputations and stonings. It had seemed a forlorn quest. Malaysia is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country, with Muslims (most of them ethnic Malays) accounting for only 60% or so of the population. The Indian and Chinese minorities and indigenous people from the Malaysian part of Borneo are largely Buddhist, Christian and Hindu. The governing coalition includes parties representing each group. Successive governments, with the backing of Malaysia’s moderate Muslims, have shrugged off PAS’s demands.
Malaysia’s current government, alas, is unlike its predecessors. It lost the popular vote at the most recent election, remaining in power thanks only to assiduous gerrymandering. Since then news has emerged of the looting of hundreds of millions of dollars from a state development agency. Officials in America have indirectly accused Najib Razak (pictured), the prime minister, of pocketing some of the missing money, along with his stepson and others. Mr Najib acknowledges that $681m showed up in his personal bank accounts, but says the money was a legal donation, most of which was returned.
Malaysians are disgusted. The scandal has accelerated the decline of UMNO, Mr Najib’s party, among urban voters, so Mr Najib is courting less sophisticated rural Malays. Malaysia already has Islamic courts, to handle disputes among Muslims in matters of family law, such as divorce and inheritance. The government has said it is willing to put to a vote a bill introduced by PAS to expand the Islamic punishments these outfits can prescribe. PAS wants adulterers, for example, to receive as many as 100 lashes with a rattan cane.
UMNO’s sudden turn has created an uproar. Moderate Malaysians, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, are appalled. The idea that their relatively rich and cosmopolitan country might resort to flaying the promiscuous is bad enough; worse, perhaps, is any concession to a party that suggests such floggings are a step on the path to amputations. Mr Najib has pooh-poohed such talk as alarmist, but Malaysians know all too well that the ratchet of imposed piety turns only in one direction.
No attempt used to be made to enforce rules barring Muslims from consuming alcohol, for example, or having sex outside marriage. Now the religious authorities raid bars and hotels to check the patrons’ religion. The law in effect bars Muslims from converting to other religions, and the Islamic authorities can jail those who stray from the official interpretation of the faith, including Shias. Brides have been dragged out of weddings because a long-absent parent turns out to have registered them as Muslims. Transgender Muslims have been arrested in droves, their very existence seen as an affront to Islam. A pop star was recently detained over a video that appeared—horrors!—to show dancing in a mosque.
In theory, non-Muslims are exempt from all this. But in practice they can be dragged into the Islamic courts, too. For instance, a Hindu man who was worried that he would lose custody of his children in an impending divorce converted to Islam. The Islamic courts, as is their wont, handed the kids to the Muslim parent, stoking outrage among minorities.
Mr Najib’s implicit embrace of the idea that the government must enforce a dour version of Islam has two baleful consequences, beyond the distress of those persecuted by the religious authorities. First, it emboldens the country’s most reactionary Muslims. In a recent survey, an alarming 11% of Malaysians said they had a “favourable view” of Islamic State. Police recently arrested three Malays planning to mark Malaysia’s national day with attacks on nightclubs and a Hindu temple. Second, the increasing emphasis on Islam threatens the social compact that underpins Malaysian society. Indians and Chinese must already put up with an elaborate system of official handouts and preferences for Malays. By championing Islam, the government is heightening the sense that minorities are second-class citizens. The country was riven by race riots in the 1960s, before Mr Najib’s father, Abdul Razak Hussein, put together the multi-ethnic coalition that has kept the peace ever since. It would be ironic, and tragic, if Mr Najib undid his father’s legacy to preserve his own career.