Freedom of Religion in Malaysia: JAIS Raids Christian Church

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Check out the photo below.

Oh yes, now that you have seen a cross (sign of Christianity), you are officially a Christian.

LOL, yeah, that’s bullshit… but it’s something very real in Malaysia in which some belive such things does exist.

To be honest, I have never heard any Christian, be it a priest, a pastor or jut the guy next door, ask fellow non-Christians to join Christianity. In fact, I take pride that we Christians do not need civil laws or constitutions to keep our population as we continue to grow in harmony and solidarity.

I have always believed that in Malaysia, there is religious freedom, but it is over-rated by many standards. The Malaysian constitution, particularly Article 11 needs to be reviewed to enable better tolerance and understanding among Malaysians which are from all walks of life and religion.  The government should also ensure that what is written in the constitution is not only written, but also practised in real life.

The raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) for me serves as a sign of disrespect towards the Christian community by certain quaters. Claims of proselytising are mere bullshit, if you ask me. On top of that, reports said there was no warrant, not a proper complaint.  Wait, so JAIS is more powerful than the police?

Sometimes, I ponder of why we Christians, despite our very best effort to show so much respect, tolerance, understanding and love are still subject toward abuse and mistreatment. Almost everything we do, seems to be bad and wrong. Now, even having a thanksgiving dinner with our Muslim friends seems wrong. Please correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t that just show how some of us want us to be dis-united by faith?

In Sarawak, they want to enforce harsher punishment for those caught doing something againsts a certain religion. Do we really need moral policing for something which is based on our very own faith? I also wonder why is there so much focus on humiliating a person for not adhering to their own faith?

I just don’t get why some people are so insecure of the strength of their own faith.  Practicing your religion should be by your choice…. but I guess that’s in any other country except Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and maybe Malaysia.

FACT: Did you know Christians are killed and jailled in Pakistan for practicing their religion?

24 COMMENTS

  1. I hear people say that things didn’t use to be this way in West Malaysia. People used to be more tolerant / accepting. Nowadays it has changed.

    So who is the change-agent? Are there “foreign elements” who are introducing / enforcing this extremist version of religion? Malaysians need to defend their way of life from such introduced intolerance.

  2. Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention. Indeed well-placed words exhibit the power of ‘journalism’, and each article has its own motives and power to drive towards a certain conclusion. Of course in the end it’s up to the reader to decide, given that he has heard both(/all) sides of a story.

    I’m not sure if this article is meant to highlight the ‘lack of true religious freedom’ in *Malaysia*;
    or the “fact”(???) that ‘seeing a cross makes you Christian is a belief in Malaysia’ (maybe there is *anecdotal* evidence to this, though not provided in here);
    or the plain issue that ‘Islam (in itself) is supposedly a barbaric intolerant cruel punishing forceful totalitarian religion’ (nice picture that hopefully does *not* represent the ENTIRE 12 million Malaysian Muslims’ attitude towards religion; nice cherry-picking of examples of an extremist Islamic republic like Pakistan with the omission of Nawaz Sharif being responsible for the whole extremist Islamization while the late Benazir Bhutto tried to reform the controversial ‘blasphemy’ laws… both rulers being Muslim mind it, with differing *political* agenda… wonder if EVERY Muslim country in the world is like that – look it up, readers)…

    Now if the readers would kindly take note of the incident highlighted in this article (the damansara church raid), I would advise actually CLICKING on that StarOnline news article link provided (AND the related articles in that piece) so you can trace back the events (since it’s not mentioned here in detail for some reason… maybe space issues, I don’t know :p ) – you’ll see that
    1) JAIS (Selangor) raided the multi-racial dinner held in the church because there were 12 Muslims in that dinner – they were raiding the Muslims actually. They have no right (since it’s against the law, duh) to raid non-Muslims doing whatever religious practice on their own;
    2) According to StarOnline also, that dinner was believed to headed/organized by a Muslim; yes, it took place in a church (Wait, WHAT?!! It’s was A MUSLIM guy’s idea?!! *shock*gasp*shock* weird)
    3) The raid took place at the END of the dinner, after the ‘spies’ collected enough supposed ‘evidence’ that proselytizing activities was supposedly taking place in the dinner… (wait, WAIT… read the next point before reacting)
    4) The dude behind the whole backing up of JAIS raid was *drumroll* a PAS guy, Datuk Hassan something… *ah epiphany*
    5) Selangor Menteri Besar dude (a BN guy) and the other BN dudes are condemning the action…*more epiphany*
    6) Once again, it all comes down to politics…

    I suppose this piece of news is yet more *anecdotal* evidence of how Malaysia is truly an intolerant Islamic republic?
    True, there are a lot of ignorant uneducated idiots with insecurities about their own faith, leading to events like what you see in the picture provided…
    Suppose that reflects an entire population of a certain group?
    I’m always wary of fallacies like “confirmation bias”, “cherry-picking”, “argumentum ad populum” and “anecdotal evidence”… personally I like to listen to both(/all) sides of a story before making any conclusions. At the same time, belonging to a certain group, I can’t help but feel the need to voice out, to defend what we are (or are not) when I believe ‘my people’ could be mistaken or condemned for the actions of certain others…

    Interesting links:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking_(fallacy)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_populum

    And by the way, just for the readers’ info: Saudi Arabia does not allow public practice of non-Islamic religions, being a theocratic monarch Muslim land, though it does not prohibit such practices in private/homes of the non-Muslims, and does not force conversion to Islam or prosecute non-Muslims simply for BEING such – the Muslim King rules/OWNS the land [monarch, hello] – I’m sure it’s understandable that a Muslim fellow would allow non-Muslim eg. Pagan housemates to live in his own house [which he owns], but provide rules to not hold mass/preaching/Pagan gatherings inside *his* home, which the Pagan housemate would respectfully adhere to should he want to continue to stay in that house. No obligations about being forced to stay in that Muslim house, or to follow Islam anyhow. Don’t like the King (of the house), he’s free to make his way to the door. Malaysia however is neither theocratic monarch nor Islamist republic. Personally, I’d worry more about the haze and any environmental disaster here than some Crusade hoo-hah.

    • Thank you for the highlights and the links. As said, it all depends on the readers to inteprete. Anyway, just to respond to your comments:

      1) The article is more towards lack of religious freedom in Malaysia, particularly towards Christians, and my personal questions on religious belief/freedom. It was not geared towards the DUMC incident, and hence the lack of mention of such incident.

      2) I believe that every religion promotes goodwill and goodness, but the sad thing is that men make it look bad by acting poorly in the name of religion. Regardless, I did not exclusively mention Islam as ‘barbaric intolerant cruel punishing forceful totalitarian religion’. I stand firm that all religion is good, and the examples of countries i.e. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia are just one of the many cases I have read about having some sort of conviction towards Christians. A list I found on the internet gave me Vietnam and North Korea as non-freedom of religion countries. Some interesting links I’ve read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_Saudi_Arabia, http://www.cobourgatheist.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=236:a-list-of-countries-with-no-freedom-of-religion&catid=44:statistics&Itemid=72

      3)Hassan Ali gave his statement as said by you above, but a different version was given by the pastor of the church. At this point, I don’t know which is right and who to believe.

      4) The DUMC incident facts was not mentioned in full here becuase I thought the link was suffice.In addition to that, there are a lot of reports from both side of the political devide on news, and hence making me unsure who is right or wrong. All I wanted to highlight was that JAIS didnt have a warrant, and the raid was disrespectful. Do note also that it was said by Pastor Ho that the raid came in where dinner was taking place, while Hassan Ali said they waited for the event to end. Which is true, I do not know…

      Finally, there are a lot of liberal and well respected Muslims out there. It’s a fact,and we feel very close to them and respect them and their religion even more for being just that. However, a few bad heads like Ibrahim A. arent one of them, and unfortunately, these are the people said to be leaders.

      The photo was the first I could find which relates to the recent Christian-Muslim issue. That was just a small minority which captured news headlines. This post is definately not to spark a Crusade war, but just me asking questions…

      • “Lack of religious freedom in Malaysia” would probably be too strong an implication… (as would the statement “Practicing your religion should be by your choice, but I guess that’s in any other country except Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and maybe Malaysia”…

        I mean, honestly speaking, you don’t see churches everywhere being raided, or church activities/mass/gatherings being prohibited, or people being forced to convert into a certain religion… after all, we are still a multi-religious society, so logically freedom of religion still exists.

        As for the Saudi Arabia examples, we’ve already established how monarch owns the country, and people living in the King’s house must follow his rules.

        But true, I do not deny the existence of certain close-minded people in the country (picture is excellent example), as much as the political agenda underlying the religion issues here. Latter also explains the discrepancies in statements given by different people. Like I said, take-home message: best to know both (/all) sides of a story before we decide anything.

  3. *out of topic*
    duh… the photo.. those are the loudest when it comes to protesting for that kind of cause.. but go to their office/workplace, most of them are tin kosong.

  4. Hang on. Couldnt they wait until the event is over to catch their own people who alleged were there, which i think is just an excuse since the Rev said none were? The Director of JAIS is unaware… everyone who is someone is unaware, so WHO is aware, who ordered the raid? thats what i’d like to know. And based on whose tipoff? ok lets see the finger-pointing drama next.

    p/s: we have spies in churches these days huh.

  5. think about it again, so many years back, what happen to the M’sia that we used to love so much? now I remember, once there’s a priest telling me that, Jesus is coming for Judgement, sooner than we realise, within 500 years, people, tomorrow is within that 500 years…pray, lets start to repent

  6. That is why some people claim that our people especially the leaders, those powerful people should really study out federal constitution once again.. it seems like we r now living in a country WITHOUT fundamental liberties…

  7. hello

    I was christian and i am now muslim. Just as to know my background.

    I do feel rather irritated with people always mentioning that this is a lone accident and do not represent the full muslim society. I am sorry but there is plenty of such church being burned, head of the cow being show to Indian, The sikh to whom hair was cut..
    Anyhow, I trust that as part of a “family” you are responsible for the education and actions of all their members. I had issue with the stand of the church during the second world war as much i have issue with the above. It is time for muslim to condemn this act which make us look bad rather to find some lame excuse.

    As of the above example regarding saoudi arabia, how would you feel if the guy house owner who do let other practice their fait come in your house and decide to sponsorised the construction of a temple.
    Saoudi Arabia is taking advantage of the freedom of religion in western countries to build mos but will not allow church on their land.
    I do cheer for Norway which refuse the sponsorship of a Mos, stating that when they will be allowed to build church in Saoudi Arabia, then Saoudi will be able to build mos in Norway.
    I somehow believe that such a stand is a good thing, pushing to open discussion and further understanding, hopefully.

  8. You know what, I used to be a tour guide back in the 80’s, and there were far more foreigners than nowadays. I’ve seen the western voting Malaysia as the #3 most unsafe country for tourists to go. I have to blame the government for this, they’re to arrogant, snobish and only thinks of the well being of Muslims while they just let other religions do their own thing.I had a friend,who is born muslim but my friend’s faith was a christian, they had a hard time being bullied and undermised by his own relatives and Muslim friends. Not only that, even the Ustaz forced him to drop out of christian, saying that its crap.To me, when a person is alredy muslim, you have to follow it, whether you like it or not. That’s more like a freedomless law.

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