Wednesday 10 August 2011

PAS Youth rapped for rushing to judgement

Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing today described the opinion of PAS Youth chief Nasruddin Hassan that Christians had indeed proselytised among Muslims in Damansara recently as a “rash rush to judgement”.

“The proper thing now is for this zealous young man to bring forward this evidence he says has convinced him there has been proselytisation so that Christians can take the necessary corrective and contrite action,” said the head of the diocese of Melaka-Johor in remarks made to Malaysiakini.

NONENasaruddin (right in photo) is reported to said that he has seen the evidence presented by Selangor state minister for Islamic religion Dr Hasan Ali and is convinced of its veracity.

Presumably, it was the same evidence that Hasan had tendered to the party's central working committee last Sunday.
The committee then elected to listen to both sides of the issue - Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) and the Damansara Utama Methodist Centre (DUMC).
The party has announced that it would hold the meetings on Aug 15-16.

“I urge Uztaz Nasaruddin to match the rallying cry of his party - 'PAS for all' - with requisite deed which would entail his presentation of the evidence to Christians so that we can take appropriate remedial action and restore our fidelity to what we Christians say is our 'tacit social understanding',” explained Bishop Paul Tan.

'Tacit social understanding'

“You have all heard of the 'social contract'. Nobody seems to know precisely how that originated. But I tell you that for Christians in Malaysia, there is a 'tacit social understanding' which is our subscription to what a cardinal tenet - respect for Islam as the official religion of the Federation - means to Christians,” argued the bishop.

“This tacit social understanding requires that we do not proselytise among Muslims. The freedom of religion guarantee in the Federal Constitution does not bar proselytisation on behalf of one's religion, but here in Malaysia, it's the Christians' tacit social understanding that we do not do so among Muslims.

NONE“If individual Muslims expressly want us to share our faith with them, we would do so but conversion would be a decision of their volition, not at our persuasion. This is because religion can be proposed but not imposed. This is what we call respect for the sanctity of individual conscience,” he explained.

“If this sounds like sophistry, or what can be termed as jesuitical reasoning, don't laugh because I'm indeed a Jesuit,” said the Jesuit-trained prelate.

“But I hold that it is not sophistry; it is merely the pragmatic wisdom of people who must work an accommodation between the potentially conflicting imperatives of faith, constitutional ideals and political realities.

“That is wisdom, that is reality and I claim that the Christians have abided by this tacit social understanding,” asserted Bishop Paul Tan.

Christians made to feel like fifth columnists

The bishops said that where the Christians have infringed on that understanding, they have to take contrite and remedial action.

“Where we have not and are said to have, we have to demand an apology. Otherwise this trial of Christians by innuendo and insinuation will go ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

“I understand that PAS leaders may well have a different view of this issue. But this is our view and we have not been secretive about it.

“If PAS has a different view, its best that it be tendered in the open - before the general election - so that Christian voters can decide on its merits,” argued Bishop Paul Tan.

He continued: “I would not say this is going to be the defining issue of the 13th general election but it is ineluctably bound up with all the other issues.

“That is why I had hoped for a defining closure to the issue of Christians proselytising Muslims in Damansara that came up recently after the yet-to-be substantiated claims of Christians trying to dethrone Islam as the Federation's official religion that came up last May in Penang.

“Uztaz Nasruddin's reported stance would only give a further fillip to the continuing trial by innuendo and insinuation of Malaysian Christians.

“This is unjustified by the actual facts of the situation on the ground. Christians are made to feel like fifth columnists in their own country. This is monstrous. It has to stop. Christians must move to have to have it stopped.

“Christians must make the next general election a hugely significant way station on that journey to call a halt to this carping inquisition that they are being made to suffer.”

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