Recent events in Malaysia — i.e. various outrages and provocations committed by Muslims officially or non-officially towards non Muslims — have, as is often delicately put, ‘raised tensions’ between Malaysian Muslims and its various non Muslim minorities. More specifically, these recent events have exposed the fiction that Malaysia is one ‘harmonious’ multi-ethnic and multi-religious society as being more phony than ever.
The Official Malaysian-Muslim Establishment has responded in two ways: first, by promising an ‘investigation’ into biggest recent outrage, namely the recent inspection of a church by the Islamic religious police (which may or may not involve or talk to the ‘infidels’ who actually own the church that was raided in the first place), and secondly, a propaganda offensive via the vetted government-approved mainstream media. The best and brightest of the Malays are on the case, and what one of them has to say may surprise you. Or perhaps not. From “Forging unity through religion”, by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, The Star, 24 August 2011:
Universal values shared by all religions should be the fount of unity in a multi-religious society.
Is religion in multi-religious Malaysia a force for unity or disunity? This is an important question to ask at this juncture since religion has assumed tremendous significance in the public arena in recent times.
In the first decade and a half of our independence, religion was not perceived as a hindrance to national unity. The Constitution recognised Islam as the religion of the Federation.
It was an affirmation of the identity of the new nation which had evolved from Muslim Sultanates. If this identity was not acknowledged, the Malay-Muslim populace would have felt that the Malaysian state had not taken
cognisance of their identity as a people.
Of course, then as now, violence would have resulted, and does result, whenever the Malay-Muslims feel that their Islamic identity is in any way infringed or ‘threatened’. And it doesn’t take much for that to happen — all a Christian has to do is say ‘Allah’ a few times, and before you know it, churches start going up in flames. But I digress.
However, the relatively tension free coexistence among
the majority and minority religious communities of the first 15 years,
began to witness some strains from the 1980s onwards.
This is about the same time that a certain infamous Malaysian, terrorist apologist and notorious anti Semite named Mahathir Mohamad became Prime Minister. Coincidence?
Often, in situations like this where interaction gives rise to friction, segments within a religious community become more
conscious of religious boundaries. Any breach of what is sometimes an
artificially constructed boundary arouses passions and heightens
Yup, that ‘friction’ just mysteriously arises. Passions get ‘aroused’. Never mind which religious group that is always getting riled up and ‘aroused’ in the first place.
There will be no solution to controversies such as child conversion as long as one accords primacy to religious injunctions that have developed over time rather than the perennial values and principles of the Quran.
Anyway, the good Doctor soon dispenses with his monkeyshine and warms to his main theme — all these ‘religious tensions’ that keep arising between Muslims and everyone else in Malaysia are not the fault of Muslims at all.
If a certain mindset within a segment of the Muslim population is a barrier to national unity, so is a certain movement within the growing Christian community. Evangelical Christians determined to spread Christianity are becoming
Non-Muslim communities are their main targets in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. But there is increasing
evidence to suggest that Malays are also being approached in spite of the constitutional provision that restricts “the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.”
Of course! Muslims reserve the right to proselytize to everybody everywhere (which in this country is funded by infidels), but the Evangelical Christians dare to demand the same? Outrageous! Religious freedom for us, for not for unbelievers — our religion forbids it. To a Muslim, the Golden Rule is apparently for suckers.
The evangelical push in Malaysia and other parts of the world has a lot to do with the rise of what is broadly described as the
Christian Right in the United States.
For the Christian Right exporting their brand of the religion serves to strengthen the global hegemonic power of the US.
When in doubt, blame America, and you’re never wrong.
As Iain Buchannan shows in his superb academic study of this movement entitled “The Armies of God”, converting Muslims to Christianity is one of the evangelist’s cherished goals.
Since Muslims worldwide have always resisted conversion, the tactics employed are more subtle and sophisticated.
Many Christian groups in Malaysia and other countries are opposed to this sort of evangelism.
Christians dare to convert Muslims using peaceful methods? How culturally insensitive! But let’s hope this Buchannan fellow is correct. And speaking of conversion, if Muslims are so resistant to it, as the author claims, then why are Muslims and Muslim governments everywhere so touchy about ‘protecting Muslims’ from ‘corrupt infidel beliefs’? After all, that’s why the Malaysian government banned Muslims from practicing yoga a few years ago. As for the local Christians, they apparently meet with the Doctor’s approval for being tame and truly dhimmified.
They know that it is not only a betrayal of the essence of Jesus’ message of
love, compassion and justice but also inimical to harmonious relations among different religious communities. They emphasise universal values shared by Christianity, Islam and other religions.
It is these shared values that should be the fount of unity in a multi-religious society.
They underscore our common humanity. If religions through the deeds of their
adherents bring forth our common humanity, they will help forge unity
in this land that we call our home.
> Dr Chandra Muzaffar is chairman of the board of trustees, Yayasan 1Malaysia and Professor of Global Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia.
This Muslim has the unbelievable chutzpah to tell evangelical Christians — and all Christians, really — that they misunderstand Jesus’ message. Apparently, to this so-called doctor, the only ‘real’ Christians are the ones that meekly submit to church ‘inspections’, second class status, and the overriding agenda of Islamic supremacy.
If this taqiyya master ‘doctor’ Muzaffar wants ‘unity’, then the only unity he plainly seeks is the kind with a distinctly Islamic hue.