Malaysian Muslims decry Proselytizers

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (Worthy News)-- Muslims in Malaysia have demanded that action be taken against those who proselytize Muslims to Christianity as 22 Islamic non-governmental organizations called for laws banning apostasy.

The NGOs issued a statement stressing their commitment to "defending the faith of Muslims held in this country from ... encroachment," according to the Malaysian Insider and Malaysiakini. The NGOs sought to uphold existing legislation against proselytizing Muslims while calling for stronger laws against conversions.

"We stressed that matters relating to the faith of Muslims are very sensitive issues that could affect racial harmony, thus calling on all parties not to act against the stipulated law," the statement said. "We unanimously resolve to safeguard the Islamic faith in this country from any form of transgression in accordance to Islam's position as the religion of the federation and existing laws, as well as call for an anti-apostasy law."

PAS Youth Chief Nasrudin Hassan said that all previous appeals for anti-apostasy laws were rejected in Parliament: while Islam was a "religion of discourse," a law was needed "to curb and control those who will no longer listen to arguments".

The call for an apostasy law came as the Selangor Islamic Religious Department submitted a preliminary report of its recent raid on a church fund-raising dinner to the Selangor chief minister; the raid at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church in Petaling Jaya followed allegations that Christians were proselytizing their Muslim guests.

Church leaders condemned the raid, stating it was done without a search warrant; other critics claimed there was no proof that proselytization was actually taking place during the dinner.

Officials denied they raided the church, rather they only inspected the premises after getting complaints that Muslims were present at the dinner.

Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim was blasted for being apologetic over the raid, while Barisan Nasional Senator Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor was criticized by his fellow politicians for threatening local media's coverage of the raid.

Last week at a mosque in Shah Alam, Nor declared war against anyone who attacked the Islamic faith, promising he would "burn" Malaysiakini and the Malaysian Insider.

However, Nor later explained on Twitter that: "Malaysiakini/Malaysian Insider are cyber news portals; No threat to burn any reporters/building. The remarks were only symbolic of the anger towards them for burning the hearts of the Muslim community."