Tuesday 7 June 2011

PAS keen on dialogue with Christians

JUne 7, Free Malaysia Today

KOTA BARU: PAS is keen and willing to reinitiate dialogues with non-Muslims over contentious issues about race and religion.

Its central committee member Mujahid Yusof Rawa said the dialogues will be geared towards allaying fears of non-Muslims, particularly the Christians.

The community was thrust into the national spotlight last month over unsubstantiated claims it had prayed for a Christian nation and for the country to appoint a Christian prime minister.

Mujahid said the dialogues will be a follow up to a series of closed door dialogues which he had with the Roman Catholic congregation in several churches in Penang two years ago.

Besides Mujahid, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, had also engaged the Christian community weeks after the 2008 general election.

Mujahid said the dialogue would be held under the constitutional premise that Islam is Malaysia’s official religion while its non-Muslim citizens are free to practise their own faiths.

“I think PAS has a duty to ensure that non-Muslims understand Islam better while we also seek to understand the perspective of non-Muslims in light of emerging radicalised voices.”

Every rational thinking Malaysian should know that this is a multi-ethnic nation and therefore, naturally, there would be a diversity of views that need to understood, he said.

Mujahid said he is willing to traverse the country for the the proposed dialogues, not only with Christians but also with the Buddhist and Hindu communities.

Mujahid is also keen to engage the mass media to enlighten the mainstream and alternative media that there are no professionals (Erdogans) or cleric (ulama) groups in PAS.

Islamic principles

Mujahid, the Parit Buntar MP, was elected to PAS’ central committee at last weekend’s bi-annual election, held during the party’s annual muktamar.

“It is misleading for the media to continue harping on the presence of professionals and clerics in PAS as they are the same entity. Our Muslim brotherhood is intact,” said Mujahid.

“There will differences of views like in other political parties but it does not mean we are divided along the lines of professionals and the clerics,” he added.

Mujahid said the media must realise that PAS is basically an Islamist party, drawing its inspiration from Islam and applying its values in the political field and in its policies.

“The same Islamic principles serve as a guiding light to clerics or professionals and which compels PAS leaders to reject corruption or abuse of power.”

For example, he has academic credentials which makes him both a professional and a cleric. “So how does the media want to label me? A cleric or a professional?” asked Mujahid.

He said he is more than willing to engage in a roundtable with the media and enlighten them about the professionals and clerics in PAS.

“It can be in a formal or an informal setting just as long as the media comes with an open mind to listen,” he said.

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