by Jennifer Gomez and Desmond Davidson
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 08, 2014
A PAS lawmaker has slammed a public university over a religiously-charged seminar which attacked Christianity, and challenged a claim that Christian priests were masquerading as football coaches to proselytise to Muslims.
Parit Buntar MP Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusuf Rawa said the speakers should make a police report over the accusation, and warned that statements made at the seminar were mala fide and dangerous if they failed to back them with evidence.
“The speakers and the organisers of the seminar risk being hauled up for making accusations which could threaten inter-religious harmony in the country which was already fragile,” said Mujahid.
He urged them to provide evidence to the police, and cited Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution restricting the propagation of any faith to Muslims.
The seminar on the use of the word “Allah” and Christology, held last Tuesday at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), heard one of its speakers, Abdul Karim Omar, claiming that undercover Christian priests have been sent to Malaysia under different guises, including working with Muslim children as football coaches, to proselytise and convert Muslims.
As a Muslim, I do have a certain perception and understanding of Christianity, but it is unfair for me to speak to an audience on behalf of Christians on whether Jesus is the son of God or is God himself, for instance… – Mujahid Yusuf Rawa.
Mujahid said the seminar should have called representatives from different faiths so that participants could listen to both sides of the debate and make their own conclusions.
“As a Muslim, I do have a certain perception and understanding of Christianity, but it is unfair for me to speak to an audience on behalf of Christians on whether Jesus is the son of God or is God himself, for instance.
“What right did they have talking about another faith in front of people?” he asked, adding that similarly, he would not appreciate a person of another faith commenting on Islam.
Saying Malaysia’s racial and religious harmony was not as good as it should be, Mujahid called on followers of all religions to be sensitive and work towards creating peaceful co-existence instead of spreading hate and fear.
“If this seminar was to conserve and preserve the Islamic faith, there is nothing wrong in that, but that does not give them the license to attack another faith.
“This is like adding salt to the wound, adding fuel to the fire,” said Mujahid, who has been actively promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue in the wake of the “Allah” controversy.
The seminar was jointly organised by the Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies, UiTM, Warisan Ibnu Aaby and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais), and supported by Utusan Malaysia, Kumpulan Karangkraf, TV Al-Hijrah, Zikay Group and Pantai Bharu Group of Companies
At the seminar, copies of a book published by Mais on the threat of Christianisation and alleged evangelism among Malaysian Muslims were also distributed to more than 1,000 students in attendance.
The book, Pendedahan Agenda Kristian (An Exposure of the Christian Agenda), among others warns Muslims of “tricks” by Christians to sway Muslims from their faith, and claims that the main reason for apostasy among Muslims is Christianisation.
Another book on the name “Allah” tells why non-Muslims especially Christians should not be allowed to use the term.
Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian said Muslim groups were emboldened in their insinuations and criticisms against Christians due to the weak government, as they knew Putrajaya would not take any action against them.
“This had emboldened them to make all the insinuations against Christians, the alleged attempts at proselytising Muslims and distributing copies of the book published by Mais on the threat of Christianisation and alleged evangelism among Muslims.
“It just showed how weak the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is,” Baru said on the controversial seminar.
“Has he made any strong statement against Datuk Zulkifli Nordin (the former deputy president of the Malay rights group Perkasa) or Perkasa before this?” he asked.
The Ba Kelalan state assemblyman said the seminar would cause more rift between Muslims and non-Muslims and the Malays with the other races in the country.
He also dismissed Abdul Karim’s claim that Christian priests on “undercover priests”.
“Just because they are Christians, don’t make them Christian missionaries”.
Baru said he was aware of Brazilian football coaches, who are Christians, who had held football clinics as he was also involved in a similar clinic in his constituency.
“I don’t think they are missionaries. What is wrong with Christians who want to contribute to young people of this country?” he asked.
“You cannot just accuse people of proselyting to Muslims.”
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Masing also expressed surprise and shock that UiTM had organised a seminar that could incite inter-religious misunderstanding and animosity among people of different faiths.
Masing called on the authorities, including the Education Ministry, to investigate.
“We cannot allow discussions like these which could incite religious tension and hatred in a multi-religious country like Malaysia,” Masing said, adding that had Christians discussed “10 ways for a Muslim to become Christian”, they would have been hauled up for alleged sedition, referring to a speaker at the seminar who spoke on ten reasons why Christians should become Muslims. – May 8, 2014.