Veteran Malayalam actor Mamukkoya has spoken out against the growing intolerance in our society and the hypocrisy within the Muslim community, which he is also part of.

Mamukkoya stressed that in a country where the communal and political forces have formed a nexus, the common man cannot enjoy freedom of expression. He also said that he is scared to present his opinion in front of the society now.

Pointing out examples from Chekannur Moulavi to Gauri Lankesh, the actor said that those who dare to question the system are often eliminated by communal forces, instead of being debated and discussed.

Mamukkoya also slammed the concepts of haraam (heretic) and halaal (permitted) in Islam, wondering who decides it. The actor stated that photography used to be haraam according to Islamic scholars but became halal as soon as passports became mandatory to go for Hajj.

The actor made these statements during his speech at a recent function organised by the magazine Samakalika Malayalam. Check out excerpts from the speech here:

Today nobody can express their opinion. If you don't like what I have to say, you will silence me forever. This has happened earlier, too. Today it is happening against those who voice dissent against the government. Earlier it happened to those who spoke against religion. Chekannur Moulavi and others were killed for that. Not because he hurt or killed somebody. He spread the ideas he had in his mind. Ideas should be opposed with ideas. Not by killing him. 

This happens in all ages and times but it is happening even more strongly these days. I cannot express my ideas. Nilambur Ayisha and VP Suhara were subjected to harassment by the society, and even within their families, for doing exactly that (expressing their ideas). There some people saying that if you drink the water in which Prophet Mohammed's hair was dipped, diseases will be cured. There isn't even a fraction of people who oppose it as compared to the number of people who support it.

In such a situation, we shouldn't look at who wins or who loses. I should be able to convey my opinion. If a religion is so fragile that it would be harmed by my doing that, then I don't belong to that religion. I have my own set of beliefs. My faith is the relation between my creator and I. 

Who decides what is haraam and halaal? Earlier using microphone was haraam. There are people who say mic is not allowed, even today. Photography used to be haraam. Actually, there were many 'haraam'. Automatically many things became halaal. Passports became mandatory to go for Hajj. Whoever holds the passport had to have their photo taken. So, photography went from haraam to halal.

I should decide what is right and wrong and I should teach it to my children. They will have their own rights and wrong and they should decide what our country stands for. Our children should not become pawns to raise slogans for those thugs (referring to polarising communal politicians).