Wednesday 28 March 2012

Deputy minister, education exco say unaware of ‘Christian threat’ seminar

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Ruling lawmakers in charge of education at state and federal levels have said they are unaware of Saturday’s seminar in Johor to discuss the role of teachers in addressing the “threat of Christianisation”, but added they would look into the matter.

They told The Malaysian Insider today they would “check first before commenting further” when asked if the event organised by the Johor Mufti and Education Departments, which requires the attendance of two teachers from each of the 55 schools across the state, was approved by their administrations.

“I have no knowledge that officers in the education department are doing this. Maybe it is because there is additional allocation under the Johor Islamic Religious Council.

“I need to get more information but efforts to strengthen the faith is normal,” Johor executive councillor Datuk Mauzilan Bujang said.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong also said he was not aware of the seminar themed “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?” (Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?).

“I do not know. I do not want to comment until I know the details,” the MP from Ayer Hitam, Johor, said when asked if such events were common.

The two state departments have come under fire for endorsing the claim that Christians are a threat to the Islamic faith.

The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) told The Malaysian Insider yesterday it was “shocked and in disbelief” over “the fact... the state department is lending support to this thinking that there is a threat against Islam.”

The Cabinet’s Special Committee to Promote Inter-religious Understanding and Harmony also said it will act against the “provocative” seminar.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders also demanded the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) explain what they call “a disgusting political manoeuvre”.

But Muslim NGOs have defended the seminar, saying the government is “duty-bound” to act on Christian threats.

Christians form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million population.

In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug of war over the word “Allah”, with Muslims arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim God.

Christians have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.

Conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.

No comments:

Post a Comment