When charity becomes a crime

by Dr Chris Anthony

The ongoing controversy over the alleged raid of the Damansara Utama Methodist Church(DUMN) by Jais brings highlights a very strange phenomenon where doing charity becomes a crime that must be investigated and punished.

We all know that charity is the act of giving money, food or help free to those who are in need because they are ill, poor or have no home. All religions encourage this virtue of charity and in fact it is a basic tenet of every faith.

Most of us regardless of the religion we belong too are at one time or another involved with some acts of charity which is considered noble. Ironically today the virtue that was exalted all these years is at times seen as something terribly wrong.It is distressing that chariry is increasing seen as a crime that must be punished.

Many years ago when I and my friends were actively involved in the Society for the Poor in our church we used to visit the estates, squatter areas and new villages to provide all sorts of help to the poor in those areas.

Although we were not rich to provide much funds, the poor families benefited from our little aid which was in the form of food rations, clothes, school books, educational vocational guidance and free healthcare, and other forms of assistance. There were also those who were given monthly allowance and special allowance to cope with tragedies in the family. Apart from this material assistance those who needed motivation were given moral support and counseling.

We were very careful not to talk about religion to these unfortunate people who will be vulnerable to conversion at times of desperation. Proselytizing was never our intention but helping poor humans regardless of race or religion was our only aim. We were strongly advised by our pastors against using material aid to the poor to entice them into our faith.

In the many years of working with them I have yet to come across one who converted to Christianity because of our assistance to them. We never went to Malay kampongs but must admit that there were some of them who were desperate and did approach us for aid which we could not deny just because of their faith. Visit to their homes revealed deplorable conditions under which they lived and denying any aid for them would be doing great injustice to fellow humans.

However the numbers of Muslims in our aid list dwindled with time as they were able to get assistance from government agencies in due course. It has to be stressed we did not talk about religion at any time during our acquaintance with these poor people. In fact I for one strongly believe that it is wrong to convert anyone from one religion to another as all faiths are the same in leading to the one same God.

When we were young we were taught that helping the poor is a noble act that should transcend race and creed. Today the basic teaching on charity has changed drastically. We are encouraged to help those from our own community as helping others would be seen with suspicion and intruding into their affairs. It is as though it is alright to neglect our own people but wrong for others to help them.It appears as though there is a right time and place to do good as doing good at the wrong time may lead us into trouble.

Charity with ulterior motives is not true charity. Charity to coax people to convert their religion especially, the poor and desperate, is one that must be condemned by all.Real charity is one that is done with a open heart without any ulterior motives or benefits and is one that transcends race and religion.There should never be a wrong time or place to do good just like there should never be a right time to do bad.

The alleged raid of the DUMC by Jais brings forth the issue of Christians proselytizing to Muslims in the country in the pretext of helping the latter.This is something hard to believe as it is a common knowledge that such a thing is impossible in this country where there are laws that prohibit spreading non-Islamic faiths to Muslims. Christians are all too familiar with those rulings and one must be insane to do so. However as in any religion there are overzealous people who could resort to such things which is really regrettable.

This allegation of proselytizing is a serious one that needs proper investigation. It is either true of false. The onus of proof is on Jais.If it is true action against those involved in the proselyting should be initiated in accordance with the laws. Whereas if there is no evidence of proselytizing then Jais owes Malaysians, in particular the Christians an apology and undertake a pledge to reprimand those overzealous officers responsible for the raid.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 6:11 pm

    Charity would not become a crime if politicians do not capitalize on religion to gain political mileage.

  2. #2 by Cytoblog on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 10:29 pm

    Charity and religion should not mix. But the reality is churches that conduct charity, although do not preach directly, often include prayers and praises to God and Jesus, which to Muslims are offending; and is an offense in Malaysian Law. Perhaps we should emulate other charity organizations, e.g. Tzu Chi Buddhist Organization, when come to charity, does not mention a single word about religion and all those prayers, chanting or praises. The Christians intention might be good but they don’t understand that some people may not agreed with the way it is conducted.

  3. #3 by Cytoblog on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 10:39 pm

    One good example is, during Christmas celebration organized by my university, often people from multi-racial/religions are invited to join in the event. But when the organizer start asking people to stand up, clap and carol together with all those songs that praise God/Jesus, this has become very inappropriate. They think this is Muhibah concept, so called to celebrate together under the 1Malaysia spirit, but they don’t really understand that certain people, especially Muslims are offended.

  4. #4 by DAP man on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 11:04 pm

    In Malaysia its not called ‘religion’, its “political religion” where politicians act like theologians.

    They play God. They will tell you which version of Islam is God’s way.
    They will give sermons on Friday as to why God is against Bersih 2.0?
    The UMNO politicians act as God policemen when they themselves live sinful lives.

  5. #5 by LIM GEOK KAI on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 11:11 pm

    YES I TOTALLY AGREED yhiew’s comment. Charity would not become a crime if politicians do not capitalize on religion to gain political mileage.
    Anyway, just pray the truth will prevail. I would like to thank Kit Siang on this very good article as this shows we must have a good moral and wisdom not an opportunists playing little gods at expense of desperate poor or human being etc etc etc..

  6. #6 by asia on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 11:49 pm

    They work like one must buy all the things in this supermarket

    They setup a rules you are forbidden and punish you to buy thing from other supermarket to compare with theirs which maybe is better

    The things you buy they will not guarantee you enter paradise

  7. #7 by LIM GEOK KAI on Thursday, 11 August 2011 - 12:32 am

    Yes you are right on the butt DAP man. To all Malaysians we must ensure get all UMNO/BN gods out for once in our lifetime to save our loving Motherland for our children. As these UMNO/BN Gods has been too long being our country’s care takers and they are root cause of evil turning our country into police state.

  8. #8 by monsterball on Thursday, 11 August 2011 - 1:28 am

    Asking for a clean government is a crime.
    Being charitable is a crime.
    Being a Christian maybe a crime.
    C4 and kill…not a crime.
    Seal billions from Malaysians…considered damn smart.
    swearing to fool Malaysians…considered most intelligent too…not a crime.
    Crime & Punishments…in Malaysia for being good Malaysians.
    It’s paradise for crooks and robbers far too long making Malaysia a sick country.

  9. #9 by k1980 on Thursday, 11 August 2011 - 7:42 am

    Jais can be compared to somalia’s al-shebab which banned its starving people from trekking to refugee camps where Western food aid is available. To them, it is better to starve to death rather than accepting Western charity.

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