KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — Islam is under siege in Malaysia because aggressive Christians are determined to convert Muslims who are nonchalant about their faith, several Islamist groups alleged today.
The Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam (Pembela) accused Christians of strategising an elaborate plan to ensure that more and more Muslims leave the faith, which is illegal in Malaysia.
Pembela president Dr Yusri Mohamad said the Christian community’s demands over the “Allah” issue as well as the Alkitab row proved that they wanted to convince Muslims to embrace Christianity and abandon Islam.
“We are dealing with aggressive, confrontational groups of Christians.
“Their demands over the Alkitab, kalimah Allah are connected to their attempts to spread Christianity... They are using this strategy to tame Muslims, by using terms that we are familiar with in our own religion,” Yusri said today during a Pembela function here.
The syariah lawyer said these are direct attempts to “compromise the position of Islam” as the country’s official religion.
Muslim convert Ann Wan Seng, who was part of a panel today to discuss whether “Islam was under threat?”, said the problem with Muslims in the country was that they did not feel that they were under siege.
“We need to feel threatened; the problem is our people don’t feel anything, even when we are actually being threatened.
“We cannot just blame the Christians for doing their work, we are not doing ours,” he said.
Ann alleged that Petaling Jaya currently serves as a hub to spread Christianity and Muslim apostasy.
“Christians have been doing it in quiet and also in the open, they have been passing leaflets to our Muslims students.
“I have seen it happen in Universiti Malaya. The girls wear tudung but when you take away the tudung, they are wearing a crucifix,” Ann charged.
He claimed that something similar happens in Johor, where the “Malay Christian Association of Singapore” sends people over to Johor to convert Muslims there to Christianity.
Another panellist, Zaid Kamaruddin from Jemaah Islamiyah Malaysia, said Muslims could not afford to rest on their laurels and expect their rights to be protected by the federal constitution or even political parties.
“We cannot rely on political parties or the federal constitution because this can be amended.
“All Muslim groups, NGOs need to be united on common ground,” he said.
Utusan Malaysia had carried out a front-page article today titled “Malaysia, a Christian country?” (Malaysia, negara Kristian?), based entirely on blog postings by several pro-Umno bloggers.
The bloggers had charged the DAP with sedition for trying to change the country’s laws to enable a Christian to be prime minister, pointing to a grainy photograph showing what they described to be a secret pact between the DAP and pastors at a hotel in Penang on Wednesday.
The federal constitution does not expressly specify race or religious requirements for the position of prime minister. Article 43(2)(a) of the constitution states only that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint as PM a member of Parliament who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.
In a posting headlined “Agong under threat? DAP wants to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia?” blogger Marahku (marahku.blogspot.com) accused the DAP of trying to amend the federal constitution to allow a Christian to become prime minister.
“The whole point of changing the official religion is to allow a Christian to become prime minister of this country,” the blogger said.
On bigdogdotcom.wordpress.com, the writer claimed to have received a message that the DAP’s Jeff Ooi had organised a dinner for pastors from Sarawak and overseas at the Red Rock Hotel in Jalan Macalister, Penang.
“Among the activities that night included the 35 pastors taking a group oath. They formed a circle and touched each other’s shoulder and vowed in English to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia and put a Christian prime minister in office,” the anonymous writer said in his blog under the headline “Making Christianity the official religion?”
He also pointed to the same grainy picture he posted at the top of his blog page, which he had captioned “Partying pastors or pastors doing the party do and vow to have a Christian as Malaysian prime minister”.
The blogger further alleged that the DAP had labelled the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition as an “anti-Christ agent” in the run-up to polls in Sarawak, showing the opposition party was “openly against BN on religious grounds and they are now making it their clarion call, their rabble rousing horn”.
The blogger said it was a seditious and religiously-divisive statement that was never investigated by the police “or at least they did not tell us about any investigations on the matter”.
He called on the authorities to investigate the allegations for sedition, warning that if the authorities failed in their duty the country may be “shattered again”.
The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), together with partners Global Day of Prayer, Marketplace Penang and Penang Pastors Fellowship, said the claims against their community were lies, and has already denied the bloggers’ allegations last night.
Similarly, Ooi said the dinner had been organised by the Christian pastors in recognition of the DAP team who had visited them while in Sarawak for the state election and that the prayer sessions — one before dinner and one at the end — were a usual part of their worship, and not a pledge as alleged.
In response, another panel speaker at the Pembela forum today said that even though there were no legal provisions as to the race or religion of the country’s prime minister, the prime minister must be Muslim.
“The PM must be a Muslim. Or else he cannot advice the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Islamic matters... how can you have a non-Muslim advise the Agong on Islamic matters?” said lawyer Datuk Zainal Rejal.