KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The Johor government should not be apologetic for organising a seminar on the “threat of Christianisation” as it is an “Islamic” administration and has a duty to do so, says the Malaysian Ulama Association (PUM).
Religious teachers from national schools in Johor will attend an officially sanctioned seminar this Saturday focusing on the “threat of Christianisation”. The seminar has sparked outrage among Christians.
The seminar, organised by the Johor Education Department and the Johor Mufti Department, is 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?).
Two religious teachers from 55 national schools across Johor are required to attend.
“We need to have these kind of seminars,” PUM president Datuk Sheikh Abdul Halim Abdul Kadir told The Malaysian Insider.
“I do not accept the excuse that Christians will be upset or hurt because of this seminar... the problem of Christianisation has been around for a long while, it is real.
“Therefore, any authority or government which is Islamic has a right to do this. You need to educate teachers, especially the young ones who are unaware of this problem.”
Abdul Halim said it was a “known fact” that Christian missionaries had been “aggressively” trying to convert Muslims out of Islam for years, and that they were just doing their “job”.
“Christian missionaries have been stronger than some Muslims. This is what they do, what is demanded of them.
“We, as Muslims, have to fortify ourselves, and as of late this has happened. Many Muslims are now fighting against Christianisation.”
Asked for proof of the claims of “Christianisation”, Abdul Halim said it was happening “directly and indirectly”.
“Proof has been there all awhile... television shows, models, clothing, all these have indirect effects, purposes. We know this.
“As Muslims, we must do our part. The work cannot be done by one person, so if the government does this, support,” he said.
A copy of a letter about the seminar from the Johor Education Department to national schools appears on its website.
Hasimah Abdul Hamid, supervisor for the Islamic Education Unit of the Johor Bahru Education Office, declined to comment on the programme’s stance towards the apparent threat of Christianity against Muslims.
“The purpose of this programme is of course to strengthen the faith of Muslims,” she told The Malaysian Insider.
“But I can’t say anything about the title, because it was provided by the organisers.”
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.
A number of conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.