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The Malaysian riots’ victim is a brilliant ambassador for his country and his faith

But where were the Catholics in all this?

By on Friday, 12 August 2011

Mohammad Ashraf Haziq, the Malaysian student who had his jaw broken by rioters, and was then robbed, pictured at a press conference

Mohammad Ashraf Haziq, the Malaysian student who had his jaw broken by rioters, and was then robbed, pictured at a press conference

Commentary on the recent criminal disturbances on our streets is now pretty much wall to wall on all media outlets, so I apologise for returning to the subject.

Watching the news last night, I was much struck by the sight of a mother and son leaving court in Manchester. The boy was 12 years old. He and his mother covered their heads as they left the court, but not in shame, it seems; the woman shouted angry abuse at reporters. Here you have a clear example of bad parenting. What sort of mother shouts abuse at others in front of her own child? What sort of example is that? You can see the footage here, in case you missed it, at seven minutes in.

But lest we despair of human nature, let us remember that there are good people out there too. One such is Mohammad Ashraf Haziq, the young Malaysian student who had his jaw broken by rioters, who then robbed him, all caught on video. And how is he feeling now? Angry? Well might he be, after suffering considerable pain and being the victim of a crime. But his reaction is to say that he felt sad for his attackers, because among them were children, one of primary school age.

I know absolutely nothing about the background of this exemplary, polite and charming young man, but he is just the sort of person to make his parents and extended family proud, and he is a brilliant ambassador for his country. Compare and contrast his behaviour with that of our home-bred youngsters now going through the courts.

One last observation. Mohammad Ashraf Haziq is obviously a Muslim, and, though I have no way of knowing how religious he is, a good advertisement for his faith. There have been other stories in the last few days which have reflected well on members of the Muslim and Sikh communities. But in none of this have I detected much of a Catholic angle: where were all the Catholics in this?

  • Anonymous

    The Catholics were where they have been since the dawn of “New Labour” and it’s vehement anti-Christian manifesto. I.E. marginalised and fearful of representing themselves, lest they be called racist of bigoted. Imagine the BBC praising a Christian group for protecting a Church? Neither can I. 

  • ms catholic state

    Broadly speaking…..the rioters will have been ‘Christian’… both Catholic and Protestant.  But of course they will be secularised nominal Christian, if even that.

    It is a bad reflection on the state of Christianity and its complete lack of influence on the vast majority of our youth….even the ones not involved in the rioting.  We wanted secularism…..we got it….now what are we complaining about?!  There is a lot of work for the Church and Catholics to do……and if the Church doesn’t do it….then Islam will.  We have allowed our Faith to become complacent and secondary… if it were just a private individual matter of choice.  We need the Holy Spirit now ….as the task in hand is vast.

  • Anonymous

    Countries less religious than us have much less crime – such as Sweden, and countries that are more religious – like the United States have murder rates 5x our own.

    I don’t see why you must make secularism a scapegoat – there is no proof that it had anything to do with this. In some areas the country has failings – but religious or not you can believe in the value of family, community and disagree with an individualist consumerist point of view.

  • ms catholic state

    Well secular nations have institutionalised crime….ie legalised abortion and divorce, once known as desertion.  Nothing to boast about!  And I wouldn’t call any nation with legalised abortion ‘religious’! 

    Secularism is not capaple of producing true morality… according to secularism….one choice is of equal value to another choice.  For instance….whether one chooses an abortion or to give birth…both these are looked upon as equal choices.  What kind of perversity is that?!  You can be moral as a secularist….but you don’t have to be.

  • Aidan Coyle

    Where on earth are you getting this bizarre representation of ‘secularism’? ‘Whether one chooses an abortion or to give birth…both these are looked upon as equal choices’: where is your evidence for that claim of equivalence? Arguments need to be logical and evidence-based if they are to be credible.

  • Aidan Coyle

    I think the interview with Mohammad Ashraf Haziq was actually quite shocking in a week filled with violence, despair and talk of retribution. His words were coming from another place entirely, one of startling compassion for those who attacked him. His was a prophetic voice, pointing in a different direction to most of the talk and action that occupied much of the press coverage of the violent events this week. Truly that young man spoke from a Godly place.

  • ms catholic state

    It’s plainly obvious that abortion and giving birth are looked on as equal choices by secularists…..even the mantra ‘A woman’s right to choose’ illustrates this.  It implies she can choose to abort or not….without any condemnation for either choice…..for the choice of either is her ‘right’!

  • Andrew G Snaden

    I was struck by Mohammad’s forgiveness of what had happened to him amid the turmoil, but there is a lesson we must all learn. Many of the “rioters” were taking advantage of the situation to acquire things like plasma TVs that they had no hope of getting by legitimate means, as jobs have been exported and we don’t make the very things they were taking. You know we can make these things: white goods, all made in Italy, Computers, TVs, hi-fis, made in Korea, China etc. Millions of jobs can be reclaimed by making them. We used to make it all, we can do it again, and give the unemployed hope and pride, and sort out our balance of payments deficit. Let’s have more goods stamped “Made in Britain”. I also think that it’s morally wrong to import nearly everything and export only a few super-luxury goods. What was it the Pharisees did? Pay their tithes in worthless common herbs so they could say they were being good instead of giving money. Money that in our time should be building factories for people to work in, not the sweatshops of old, but modern businesses paying good wages.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this rare witness of admiration of another’s faith and  values.  We Catholics should now reach out humbly to other believers and show that we can learn from dialogue.

  • LocutusOP

    Stating social policies in Britain (and much of the Western world) have been abysmal should no longer be seen as a criticism, but as a matter of fact. Most metrics used – quality of happiness, suicide rates, family cohesion, community cohesion – point to a long decline. The economic policies have not been much better either, and I agree with the immorality of exporting work and importing goods, but it’s hard to know where to point the finger of blame for that.

    However, I’m not convinced Britain can produce these things again, as you claim. Even ignoring the fact that the ends of the school system have been largely changed from education to brainwashing/socialisation, meaning that a lot of the people who come out of them are not suitable for the workplace – bad discipline, for instance -, you would need to understand that the U.K has made itself a very hostile place for international businesses. The green taxes by themselves have seen to that, but combine that with excessive bureaucracy, diversity legislation and what not, and you will realise that very few rational people with a profit motive will move a factory from China or Korea to any part of Britain.

    I should also want to point out one other thing….British engineering is not exactly the envy of the world. Having owned a British car in the past (and I was pretty pleased with it), I can tell you for sure that most people will not buy a British product when given the option of buying a Korean one.

    Last  but not least, owning electronic appliances is not a human right, and certainly not if you cannot afford them in the first place. These youths have benefits – free education and housing, lenient enforcement of laws – which all but the last 1-2 (Western/Japanese) generations in human history have never had. These rioters have been given every chance to improve their own lives. Having chosen not to do that, they have no right whatsoever to ruin or envy those who have.

  • Shahirfb

    he is a Malaysian and Malaysians all over are proud of him 

  • Me

    I feel for this guy and thanks God he recovered this quickly and was not something very severe. May Allah (God, Tuhan) protect all individuals from riot heartless criminals.

    I have just a small note which I would like to highlight. There are about 14000 Malaysian students who are sent by the Malaysian Government paying for their high tuition fees in Pounds. In my eyes this is a great revenue to the British government which forces them to think twice before making Malaysia withdraw its students. That would explain everything about the exaggerated “care” given to this case by the British government and media as compared to 3 Muslim kids who were not injured but killed by “hit and run” driver during the riot and who were just helping protecting people’s properties. These 3 DEAD kids are to a certain extent ignored in the media and never mentioned by the British PM as he did with the Malaysian student case. Again, £££ is still the drive!

  • guess
  • Saiful

    it is clear that we, muslims are not terrorist…..

  • Cathy Suhaila

    Congratulation To Mohammad Ashraf Haziq and his family and Malaysia Government for having build up such a good young man as role model to other young people in the world. His English speaking is excellent, through his talk, his way of conveying the message make us feel he is a well breed Malay or Malaysian and faithful Muslim who is so forgivable and never blame anybody. For although he is a victim, he has turned the traumatic experienced that  he faced from not becoming  “moles into mountains”. but instead he shared his worst Traumatic Experience from war to Peace. Though his message, he was surprised the young to be though value system which reflects the importance of good parenting and bias in religion Not forgetting thanks to him for making his family and country Malaysia Proud. But nevertheless we hope the UK Government and Malaysian Government still keep on observed and protects everybody especially the Malaysian Students from the “rioting effects” from this incidents which has become world focus. For other students still studying in UK, One of them is my son who has just finished his PhD Biotechnology at University Oxford under The King’s Scholarship., I hope  after his Convocation at the end Of September will want him to come back home soon to serve the country. Although I am at first much pretty worrying about him but now I am much more peace for he said that he is well taken cared of By Great Country Like UK Britain and Malaysian Government. It is here that I appeal to UK and Malaysian Government to continue protect the areas like London and University Oxford. Thanks

  • Fhais

    I do believe in Allah. I’m a muslim though.and I’m very sure that everything happens come with reason. He’s a strong guy. I respect him.

  • amy_ariff

    His mother is just a humble teacher from a small town in Malaysia. Asyraf is on scholarship, just like most of the Malaysian students in UK. I admire his bravery, he even declined the offer to relocate to a different neighbourhood, saying that it’s actually a nice place to live in. We Malaysians (and Muslims) are proud to call him our brother.

    I find it refreshing that a website from a different religion complimenting someone from a different faith. This is how the world should be, coexisting peacefully despite our differences. Greetings from a Malaysian Muslim =)

  • Lee

    Exactly. It does not seem that this has nothing to do with what religion he was but rather that his mannerisms and demeanour happen to be of a high quality.

  • Lee

    But British Engineering would be better if British Govt was ‘protecting its own’ by buying other companies worldwide and using their expertise to funnel into British productivity; one only need look at the Germans who are laughing right now that their country never won WW2 as they are currently taking over (economically) without firing one bullet !

  • Jeannine

    As a Catholic I agree w/you. But, as a Muslim, you need to speak out against those who are using their Islamic religion to justify terrorism. I find it amazing that there may be 200,000 (& I’m probably overstating that number.) Muslims out of a billion+ who actively encourage terrorism. Where are the billion to shut them down & take back their religion of peace? Where are the peaceful Muslims to refute the terror-sympathizing imans’ preaching? Sometimes we have to place our lives in danger to proclaim the truth.

    What are you doing to change the non-Muslim world’s incorrect perception of Islam? 

  • Jeannine

    My posting is for all Muslims for peace. Now is not the time to sit back & watch while a few others in your religion distort its dogmas.

  • amy_ariff

     Hi Jeannine,

    The other 1 billion (well, realistically less than a billion) of us is trying to explain to others about this. Only thing is, people see what they want to see. Just go to youtube, for example, even the simplest video about Muslims not condoning terrorism, there will be comments saying that we’re lying,etc. It is an uphill battle for the rest of us, but we’re not giving up. It’s good that there are communities of different faith that understands us, but the majority is still blinded by what the media portrays. This is why interfaith discussions like this is important, not only to clear the reputation of the Muslims, but to make others understand that while we have different opinions, we could still coexist and love each other =)

  • Michael McManus

    He might be a brilliant anbassador for his country , But to have a faith built on lies does not make you great, I stopped believing in god when i was 13 years old , When i found out from reading the bible he was a killer

  • Michael McManus

    ms catholic state, Your argument does not hold water, Take Ireland a country were hundreds of thousands of children raped, abused and used as slaves , And babies in the care of catholic nuns experimented on , Then those babies sold, What a great example that sets lol

  • Mrtonyroach

     I dont care if he is a muslem he is a human being and should be treated as such

  • Mrtonyroach

    I think he was so guenuine in exspressing his feelings it really touched my heart, and made me feel so ashamed to be english, having UK people treat him like that,

  • Jeannine

    Youtube is rather safe, don’t you think? Unless it of course incites peaceful marches against the rabble-rousing imams. Think Dr Martin Luther King Jr or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on how well they encouraged their people to peacefully march for change.

    It’s not the non-Muslims you have to worry about. It’s those few Muslims with authority who incite violence. They create the terrorist-Muslim stereotype. And you have to make them irrelevant! 

  • Lagubestbest

    Typical Malaysian Muslim. Pray 5 times a day, not ever drinking, no clubbing, no drugs.. Just he, his parents, family and friends, his struggle in getting good job and a few nice hobby and maybe a girlfriend later on. That’s all.

  • Al


    you for highlighting this urgent need for Muslims to stand up for peace. I ask
    all the Catholic Herald readers to pray for peace in Malaysia. I agree w/you
    and hope you don’t mind me paraphrasing your words in appealing to Malaysian
    Muslims to respond to this article on Malaysia and Islam last week:

    1.     In
    short, Umno senator Ezam Mohd Nor said he has come to the defence of Islam and
    will wage war against those who tarnish the religion, including burning online
    news portals. Senator Ezam warned Muslims not to become agents for infidels and
    extended his warning to four of Selangor’s Christian exco members.

    2.     Senator
    Ezam is “from the ruling party aligned to the government” and a sitting member
    of the Dewan Negara (Malaysia’s Upper House like the UK’s House of Lords). He
    uttered such words and threatened publicly to carry out criminal acts.

    3.     Opposition party PKR vice president N Surendran said,
    “This is an outrageous threat to the property and offices of these two news
    portals; more seriously it is also a threat of grievous harm or death against
    their staff, writers and other occupants.”

    Peaceful marches (e.g. Bersih rally for Clean and Fair Elections) are illegal
    in Malaysia. The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib compared Bersih’s peaceful
    rally for electoral reform to the UK riots to justify the use of tear gas and
    water cannons on the peaceful marchers!
    Peaceful marches (e.g. Bersih rally for Clean and Fair Elections) are illegal
    in Malaysia. The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib compared Bersih’s peaceful
    rally for electoral reform to the UK riots to justify the use of tear gas and
    water cannons on the peaceful marchers!

  • Al

    amy_ariff, Saiful, Shahirfb and the majority Malaysian Muslims,

    Ashraf Haziq is a brilliant ambassador for Malaysian Muslims but the article below (in reply to
    Jeannine) shows that the reality in Malaysia is very different. Your silence implies your
    consent for UMNO Senator Ezam and those who are using their Islamic religion to
    justify “waging war”. He speaks like a terrorist-Muslim that you claim is only
    a stereotype. Your silence encourages him and his ilk to continue to misuse
    their authority to incite violence on your behalf.

    are the majority Malaysian Muslims to shut them down & take back your
    religion of peace? Where are the peaceful Malaysian Muslims to refute the
    terror-sympathizing Senator Ezam & to make him irrelevant?

    Selangor Menteri Besar (Chief Minister of the Selangor State), Khalid Ibrahim, expressed
    his regret over the incident and assured Selangor citizens that the state
    “fully” respected the freedom of religion and the rights of all religious
    groups. Senator Ezam has “a problem” with the Menteri Besar for being a Muslim
    who respects freedom of religion!

    is not the time for the majority Malaysian Muslims continue to sit back &
    watch while a few others in your religion distort its dogmas and use unfounded
    allegations against the Christian minority (a mere 9%) to stir interfaith
    hatred to win Muslim votes at the next General Election? Does the Selangor
    Menteri Besar stand in the minority and will he (& the Oppositon parties) lose Muslim votes for being a Muslim
    who respects freedom of religion? What are you doing to change the majority Muslim
    Malaysians’ perception of Islam and the rights of non-Muslims?

  • ms catholic state

    I appeal to the Malaysian govenrment to treat Christians there with dignity and respect their religious freedom.  That is my wish for Malaysia.

  • marijose

    Young Mohammad is a real ambassador for both his Country and God . My only hope is for the many young Muslims and Christians out there to follow his example and make this world a better world  and not Hatred for each other’s religious background. As we are all called to be witnesses to the Gospel and our fellow men to the ends of the Earth until the day  we’re call home to God our father.

  • marijose

    Why are you questioning  the Catholics in Britain? for a start Britain is a protestant country, second, it’s the majority of the Muslim followers that started the looting and rioting. It’s great Young Mohammad   did this on behalf of his Muslim, rioters and looters. is would be more appropriate if you ask” where are the Anglican s in this?

  • marijose

    If the Muslims can be able to solve the problems of terrorism around the world first then, yes we can ask them to try to convert Britain to  Muslim. other, it’s not worthy  it!! we are much more comfortable with our Christian Country.

  • marijose

    A good example of  the countries that has been influence and controlled by Muslims are the Arab countries, such as Libya and most in the middle east. are they find any peace yet?

  • marijose

    Irelad is just a small part of the  world Catholics. can’t you think of something  a bit more supportive to your arguement?

  • Another Malaysian

    Would he be sent to UK for studies by the government if he weren’t a Muslim? As a person, he is brave and deserves to be lauded. But Malaysian politicians are embarrassingly racist, especially UMNO.