Saturday, August 20, 2011

Don’t get mad, get everything

On August 3rd, JAIS (Selangor Islamic Religious Department) conducted a raid at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) hall in PJ after receiving a tip-off that Muslims were present at the appreciation & thanksgiving dinner ceremony organized by an NGO & non-profit organization called Harapan Komuniti; that gave hope & contribution to the needy, afflicted, poor and the marginalized regardless of race or religion. The 12 Muslims who present were also given counseling by JAIS officers. There are rumors claiming that the Church is plotting to grab unsuspecting Muslims and to turn them to the way of the Christ. The team who is responsible for the gathering said that they had no ties with DUMC and the hall there was merely used as an avenue as it was offered to them for free.

So, I am wondering…if a Non-Muslim happens to buka puasa with their Muslim friends at a surau/mosque compound – will there be the same raid happen claiming that they are trying to convert the Non-Muslim to Muslim? The 12 Muslims at DUMC were just attending a dinner…they were not caught singing worship songs or partaking in the bread & wine ritual or even kneeling down and praying to the cross. I really don’t know why all of a sudden the authorities have wild and invalid ideas that the Church is attempting to proselytize Muslims at the gathering. The 12 Muslims are adults and if indeed that the Church is trying to persuade, influence or inciting the Muslims to change their faith…they would also know how to reject and say no to the Church. And I also find some quarters to be very kiasu…trying to Islamize everything. The Non-Muslims also have their rights & freedom stated in the country's constitution too you know.

If this issue is not resolved amicably…Christians in Malaysia would continue to be the target of certain quarters. I could go on and on for ages. There is frustration here. Frustration as I see a great nation sliding downhill. Our country’s strength has always been on our diversity - the diversity of races, religions, languages, cultures and many more. We’ve always found a unique 'Malaysian way' of resolving issues. But over the years, we seem to have lost that somewhat and we need to urgently rediscover it. I’ve said this many times and I don’t want to sound like a broken record. But, I just can’t help but say it again and again…the world is moving at warp speed and it doesn’t owe us anything. If we can’t compete at the global level in a more united way, we will never be able to move up to the high income economy as imagined by the Prime Minister; in fact we might move backwards. Let us celebrate our diversity, be more tolerant & moderate and take pride in our individuality even as we reach across the boundaries of race, religion and culture and unite as Malaysians in chasing and realizing our shared dreams.

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