Saturday 6 August 2011

Christian group rejects 'charity-for-conversion' claim

Council of Churches Malaysia president Reverend Thomas Philips today refuted claims that Christians groups are carrying out works of charity to win converts.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, the reverend said that it is the duty of Christians to help the needy without placing any condition on the recipients, and that other religions also teach the same.

He added that Christians are "fed up" and "puzzled" with the repeated allegations, when such acts of kindness should be "appreciated" rather than "met with suspicion".

NONE"These allegations have been going on for some time. The unnecessary provocation is really puzzling.

"The prime minister should step in to find out why such claims continue to resurface, as it a sensitive issue that drives people apart. It's not good for the nation," he said.

Philips (left) was responding reports by Malay dailies Berita Harian and Harian Metro today, where guests at a dinner raided by the Selangor Islamic Department on Wednesday, were hard-up Muslims who had received aid from the Christian group.

Harian Metro reported that these Muslims had secretly converted to Christianity as a result and were part of an "underground" movement to spread the religion nationwide.

The daily also reported eyewitness accounts that Malay-language bibles were distributed at the dinner held at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church.

Berita Harian
quoted another a woman, known only as "Jasmine", who said she had converted after receiving financial assistance from the group of Christian organisations.

Another 'convert', known only as "Adazhan" reportedly told the newspaper that families received as much as RM1,000 a month, as long as they attend the Christian groups' programmes.

'Prove claims in court'

Philips added that Muslims should not continue to be suspicious as there are already laws in place to prevent proselytisation.

"We are law-abiding citizens and are committed to remain so. If (those who allege proselytisation occurs) can prove their claim then they should take the wrongdoers to court. The law is there," he said.

On Thursday, Selangor exco in charge of Islamic affairs Hasan Ali defended the Jais raid, saying that they had found preliminary evidence of proselytisation

The Malaysian Aids Council (MAC) yesterday issued a statement saying that the '1Malaysia Muhibbah Dinner' was organised to raise funds for MAC partner organisation, Harapan Komuniti, which supports those living with HIV/AIDS.

Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has issued a gag order on the matter until Jais submits a full report on the incident, and has sought an audience with the Selangor sultan to seek his advice.

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