The Great Debate — Art Harun
JUNE 1 — The hall was packed with thousands of people from all walks of life. Some were wearing yellow T-shirts. Some wore red T-shirts. Some wore white T-shirts. But the odd thing was, everybody was wearing a T-shirt with logos on it. Nobody was wearing any shirt at all. Or baju kurung. Or baju batik. Zilch. Nada. Null. சுழி. Zéro. 零. Well, you get the idea.
I was trying to move, inching my way towards the stage. And it was damn difficult to do so because of the crowd. Somewhere in the middle of the crowd, I could see Rais Yatim with a tasbih. Strangely enough, when I was near him he turned to me, smiled and as if knowing my puzzlement as what he was doing with the tasbih, he explained, “I am doing head count Bro…”
“Oh…..no wonder…” I thought. As if he knew what I was gonna ask next, he said, “I think there are 22,000 people in this hall,” smiling. “Oh…okay…” again, I thought.
As I arrived in front of the stage, Irshad Manji was adjusting her short skirt and tight T-shirt. “Hmmm…even the debater is wearing T-shirt,” I told myself. Irshad was sitted to my left. Her white T-shirt says “Lock up your dotters, I am lezbie.’’
Sitting to my right was a goateed guy in a kain pelikat and green T-shirt. His T-shirt says “MasyaAllah, Na’uzubillah, neraka jahannam.” He looked like he was an officer from JAIS. Or something like that.
Adorning the wall behind both of them was a huge banner. It reads, “Welcome to the great debate.”
The crowd was getting restless. The debate was scheduled to start at 1pm. And it was already 1.30pm. Yet there was no sign the debate was going to start any soon. Outside the hall, there were about 6,000 policemen, five tanks, and about 20 armoured vehicles. The Deputy IGP was seen ordering some thosai telor at a stall set up by some Indian NGOs nearby. Anwar Ibrahim was rolling his hands, as if to signal something to Azwan Ali, eh…I mean Azmin Ali.
Not far from that, Ummi Hafilda was screaming through a loud hailer, “Al-Juburi, Al-Sodomite, Al-Adulterer, Al-Kohol…” over and over again, like she was on repeat mode. In front of her, about five people would repeat what she said.
Over at the other end of the spectre, there were burger stalls. Nobody bought their burgers. And so they were giving them away for free. Even then, nobody took their burgers. Earlier in the day they were telling me, “bisnes teruk la bang….rugi besar ni….” I saw “NFC” written on their beef burger wrapping. “Hmmm…that prolli explains it all,” I thought. Again.
Suddenly there was loud music. “I want your ugly, I want your disease, I want your everything as long as its free…” the speakers were blaring them out. Hamaigawd…Lady Gaga.
And there she was. In all her sinful glory. She was wearing…err…not so much really. There was this black PVC bra with a hole in the middle of each of the cup showing her nipple. And a skimpy pair of red PVC panties with a heart in the place where her “anu” is. And knee-high black leather boots with what looks like a one-foot heel each.
Jesus Christ, Lady Gaga was the moderator.
She went to the mike. “Afternoon guys and gals, lezboz and homosexuals, welcome to THE debate,” she proclaimed to loud cheers from a section of the hall. The goateed guy was almost in a state of delirium. I didn’t know whether it was out of sheer fright, joy, sickness or all three.
After some pleasantries, and a short explanation of the rules of the debate, Irshad Manji took the mic.
“I don’t understand why my book is banned by JAIS. Isn’t Islam about tolerance? Isn’t Islam about the eternal search for the truth? Who owns the truth? Not me. And surely not YOU!” she said while pointing to the goateed guy.
“After all, Caliph Al-Mahdi used to debate with Timothy 1, the Nestorian patriach. They would do it at the Caliph’s palace, in front of everybody.
“The Caliph would say, O Catholicus, it does not benefit someone like you, someone of learning and experience, to say about God Almighty that He took Himself a wife and bore a son.” To which Timothy 1 would retort that God did not have a wife and someone who said so was a blasphemer.
Timothy 1 would then say that “it is not my business to decide whether [the Quran] was from God or not…but all words of God found in the Thorah and the Prophets, and those of them found in the Gospel and the writings of the Apostles have been confirmed by signs and miracles; as to the words of your book they have not been corroborated by signs and miracles. Since signs and miracles are proof of the will of God, the conclusions drawn from their absence in your Book is well known to your majesty.”
“Well, did the Caliph ban Timothy 1 after that? Did the Caliph order Timothy’s death after that? No. He did not. In fact he invited him to a sumptuous banquet and later he invited him again and again for such debates in his palace. If your faith is strong and you believe in God, why must you fear opposite or differing views?”
“If a Caliph could behave in that way, why can’t we? Why can’t you?” she asked to the thunderous applause of some very liberal-looking guys and gals wearing Pink Floyd T-shirt and baseball cap in the hall.
Lady Gaga then stood up and took a whip and whipped the floor of the stage. “That was freakin’ good arguments you all!” “Cheers to Irshad. Cheers to Irshad,” she exhorted. Quite obviously, she was not impartial. “Well, I am not impartial, okay…, just like some of your judges in your country,” she screamed.
I could then see VK Linggam giving a thumbs down sign. “Boo…,” he was saying.
The goateed guy stood up. Went to the mike. “Assalamualaikum…,” he said. “Irshad Manji is a threat to Islam. A threat to our akidah. A potential resident of hell. She is a lesbian too. I demand that the government revokes her citizenship.”
He then went back stage. Everybody was astounded. Several minutes later he came back with a big box. He opened it on stage. And out came what looked like a Hasan Ali doll. And the damn doll could move and talk. “Damn, an electronic Hasan Ali,” I whispered to myself.
The doll took the mike. “I have proof of proselytisation efforts by Christian mercenaries. I will show you in a minute….”
Suddenly a section of the crowd in red T-shirt moved forward. Then they turned around, their back now facing the stage. Lady Gaga then said, “Oh oh…it is senaman bontot time…”
The crowd in red T-shirt, their back facing the stage, started to wiggle their derriere, in various shapes and forms.
Then the president of the Petty Trader Malaysia came out from his Lamborghini Gallardo from nowhere. He went on stage. He said: “Come to my shop and eat some ikan, and you could win this car…”
He then got into the car again. And HomaiGawdilinggam…he drove the car straight towards me. He was going to run me over.
Bang, boom, crash….suddenly I was awake. I had fallen off the bed. My wife was laughing at me.
“Bad dream, eh?” she asked…. — art-harun.blogspot.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.