I would like to refer to the news in the link above reporting a forum by several individuals. Those listed are Rev Dr Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Protestant umbrella body, Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM), Dr. Farouk Musa of Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), Rev. Father Clarence Devadass, director of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute (API), and Datuk Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim, chairman of the NGO National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT). Each has said something and I wish to quote them here
Religious discourse could not continue if non-Muslims are prohibited from propagating their beliefs to Muslims, while the reverse is allowed under the law – Rev Dr Hermen Shastri
If I were to live in Australia, and Australia says that I can’t share my beliefs with my friends, I’ll feel like I’m being persecuted – Dr Farouk.
“mutual trust was crucial to maintaining respect and harmony” – Rev. Father Clarence Devadass
the Jais raid against the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) on January 2 was an injustice – Datuk Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim.
These are the four key points reported by the panels of the forum. Before I go further, let me clarify that, IRF is not an organization of Muslim think tank. They do not represent the Muslim neither they have any qualified scholar or intellect to issue any fatwa or think on behalf of the Muslim. They are just an NGO where any bloke can set it up. In fact using the word “they” is misleading as what we can see, it is more like a one man show of Dr. Farouk going around churning out his idea or rather personal idea about Islam. We are living in the age of Air Asia where everybody can fly. It seems like everybody can also talk about Islam as long as there are people who are willing to give them a platform.
Back to the issue, it is utterly shortsighted to issue such a statement by Rev Dr Herman and Dr Farouk. The law exists for a reason. Just because you think it is unfair to you does not mean it will be unfair to others. Bare in mind that the Christians are only 9% in the country while the Muslims are 60%. What if the Muslim decided to run amok on the Christians for proselyting their children? What will happen then? If there is a religious clash in the country, I believe people like Dr. Hermen will be on the next flight out of the country, to Vatican probably. But it is people like us who have to suffer.
The existence of such law is not for you, but is to protect people like us and also other Christians like you. We have nothing to do with your evangelistic activities. Not every Muslim in this country is as open like Dr Farouk who wouldn’t mind to see missionary proselyting their children. They would run into panic even by seeing a mineral water with Christian theme for the fear that it is holy water from church. What if they start to take law into their hand? The existence of such law is also to protect the Christians who are only 9% in this country. Many Christians are just normal citizen who just want to live peacefully in this country. They will be the collateral damage if there is a religion riot as the result from the action by the people like you. Is that too difficult for you to understand?
As for Rev. Father Clarence Devadass, it is good that you bring up the issue of mutual trust. But do you really understand what it means by mutual trust? Didn’t the Muslims who are the majority that rule this country given you the trust to live and practice your religion freely to the extent of proselytize anyone in the country with the exception to the Muslim? Can you give us, the Muslim your trust after all the trust that the Muslim has given to you? Probably your understanding of mutual trust is for everybody else to give you what you want and you don’t have to give them back what they want. Is that what you call mutual trust?
To, Datuk Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim, please don’t embarrass yourself by trying to be apologetic. We have enough of those apologetic Muslims, but if you want to join the bandwagon, at least try to be a bit more intelligent. Before you spell out injustice, can you just tell us what is the law in Selangor regarding the use of Allah in non-Muslim printed material? By the logic of your injustice, the law breakers are the just and the law enforcers are the unjust. Next time, when police catch a criminal, the police have committed injustice. Good luck to you.