Opinion

Speaking without knowledge

APRIL 3 — Yang Berbahagia Senator Datuk Dr Marshitah Ibrahim was born in Kedah in October 1964. She holds a PhD in Syariah Islamiyyah specialising in Tafsir and Hadith from Cairo University. She has two Datukships, from Kedah and Pahang, and is in fact also a member of the Pahang Islamic Council, the state religious authority. She also runs a boutique selling Islamic fashion in Gombak, Selangor. And she is also a radio talk show host on Radio Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, in which she performs dakwah.

All this information can be found here.

She has no educational training in either psychology or psychiatry.

After that short biography, I’d like to now highlight the statements by the honourable senator in Parliament when queried about what JAKIM has done to counter the growing problems of homosexuals and lesbians among Muslims in Malaysia. In answering, she mentions that there are already moves by JAKIM, NGOs and volunteers to counter homosexuality. Furthermore, she states, there is also syariah law.

In a follow-up question, she was asked why gay Muslims find total human rights appealing and whether the current laws were outdated. The brilliant doctor who, I repeat, has no psychological or psychiatric training whatsoever, states this, in my own translation:

“Let us discuss the causes of these problems. It is not a problem that appeared in the blink of an eye, but a prolonged process. If you asked me of the cause, I can answer that there are genuine cause and a false cause. The genuine cause is someone born with both sexual organs, and would therefore have to choose one.”

At this juncture, allow me to state the obvious. Gays are not hermaphrodites. Let’s continue.

“A cause that may arise from a mental problem or appearance itself is when it is as if they are born physically female trapped in a male soul, or vice versa they are born physically male and trapped in a female soul or, they are born male both in physicality and soul but are attracted to members of the same sex and vice versa.”

Now I can only guess that this is her definition of what transgenderism is and what gay people are. Let’s move on again, shall we?

“If we want to observe the causes for this, one such cause would be within the family itself. Also to be seen as a cause, no less, is the question of education where men and women are viewed as equal which brings up confusion, and also the term unisex where everything is equal. Both men are women are viewed equally in terms of clothing, accessories, hairstyles and all. This also contributes to this problem. “

That’s right. Having men and women wear the same accessories, clothes and hairstyles are apparently the cause of gay people, according to Datuk Dr Marshitah, a woman who also makes a living selling Islamic robes to people from a boutique in Gombak. Nothing unisexual in that, now, is there?

But let’s get to her beautiful closing statement on the matter.

“And thirdly, Yang Berhormat, is what we call a mental disorder or frame of mind of an individual who thinks this cause is something to fight for.”

That’s right. People like Harvey Milk, Ellen Degeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, Sir Ian Mackellen who played Gandalf and Magneto, Irshad Manji and also Zachary Quinto are all people suffering from a mental disorder. Heck, apparently I’m also suffering from a mental disorder according to Datuk Dr Marshitah, a woman with no background in psychiatry and psychology.

The reason I keep bringing up her lack of qualifications is because if she had done some reading, she would know that homosexuality was removed from the mental illness list in America in 1973 by the American APA, in 1992 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 1994 by the UK government, in 1999 by the Ministry of Health in the Russian Federation, in 2001 by the Chinese Society of Psychiatry and, most recently the Hong Kong College of Psychiatry in 2011. It is also a fact that homosexuality is not listed as a mental illness in the website of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association. Searching the Cairo University Kasr Alainy (School of Medicine) for a mention of homosexuality will give you an “Error 404” page.

I think it is safe to state that the Honourable Datuk Dr Marshitah should refrain from making statements with no scientific basis whatsoever since she has neither the accreditation for it nor did she do her homework on the matter other than to offer her opinion which, as a deputy minister, should have been based on some form of scholarly study. After all, she is an Islamic academic slash Islamic fashion boutique owner, so I’m sure she knows the answer to this question; isn’t speaking without knowledge considered a sin?

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

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