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Monday, May 9, 2011

Islam Under Attack? What about Christians?

By Emmanuel Joseph

Those who claim Islam in Malaysia is under threat should really spend a day trying to live as a Christian here. It is baseless, callous, slanderous, stupid statements such as these that are tearing this country apart far more than dinners for pastors or celebrating Deepa-Raya, or doing the poco-poco.

No religion encourages slander.Yet in this country, a newspaper that claims to be defending race and religion is allowed to slander politicians, political organizations, and now, even entire religious communities. In this country, organizations such as Perkasa are allowed to make sweeping racist statements with no merit, basis nor ounce of truth, and they are heralded as heaven-sent revelations, yet works to foster inter-racial harmony on the other side of the political spectrum are doubted, mocked, ridiculed and worse, outright denied. The low levels that some people sink to for political survival is sometimes surprising, but almost always sickening. Whatever happened to the burden of proof lying with the accuser?

There have been claims by apparently clueless quarters that 200,000 Muslims have converted out of Islam into Christianity, that this number was a pessimistic estimate and this somehow have escaped the eye of our 14 state religious departments and enforcement agencies nationwide. We are talking about agencies so vigilant, not even adventurous senior citizens who sneak around in hotel rooms’ escape their watchful gaze. And reportedly, some of these couples aren’t even Muslim, but that’s beyond the point.We are talking about agencies with advanced SMS alert systems to warn you if a piece of beef jerky you are about to place in your mouth was certified halal by foreign certifying bodies and somehow less halal than the ones certified here.

Some may recall a few poor Indian kids from Sibilin who got treated to a really memorable First Holy Communion after they were faced with protesters who thought they were protesting a mass baptism of ex-Muslims, no thanks to an SMS.Thinking back, I can only recall three well documented converts out of Islam, and two are not even in the country anymore .All three passed through the syariah court system, which must have somehow missed the other 199,997 cases.

While all this was going on, some even more overzealous people decided that crosses should be removed from our schools, because, really, all the Christians did was buy the land, build the schools, fill out the libraries, equip the labs and teach there for about thirty years, but they’re gone now, so we should remove the crosses lest we add on to the 200,000 converts. And with the many schools, orphanages and hospitals they’ve built, they must have some nefarious agenda, right? And they also want to print their Bibles in BM. Never mind the fact they’ve been doing it for 600 years, the fact that they’re doing it represents some intagible, but catchy-sounding form of threat, and as a bonus, political opportunity.We can always classify it as national security and blame them for being unpatriotic if they question it later.

For good measure, lets also ensure the new generation of Christians worship out of shop lots and industrial plots of lands next to fuming factories, away from society’s curious eye. And do remember to keep the crosses small. Just as the Christians thought it was safe to come out, we have people in charge of schools that require you to fill out forms if you wish to wear ‘mini’ crosses around your neck.At this rate, it is surprising, no one has suggested barcoded ‘Kafir’ nametags yet.

Islam’s position as official religion in Malaysia is enshrined by the Constitution. Four large political parties, two of which are the largest parties in Malaysia,are there to defend it. The majority of 60% of Malaysians who profess the religion protect it.But yes, sir you are right-Islam is under attack. It is under attack by those hell-bent on stoking racial tensions and religious unease, and in the process give a good religion a bad name.It is under attack, by you. And in all this, a more relevant question that arises, sir, if you believe Muslims is under attack in Malaysia, what of the Christians?

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