Friday, March 18, 2011

Home Ministry Hardline Attitude on Christians

The Christian community in Malaysia are pretty angry at the Home Ministry when they imposed two conditions on the release of the Al-Kitab (Malay-language translation of the Bible). Out of the books in held by Customs department, the bulk of 35000 copies are use of Borneo. The conditions mentioned: serializing the copies with a unique number and stamping it with "For Christians only".

The two conditions are considered as defacement of the sacred book. As the Bible Society said in The Malaysian Insider:

“Bible Society of Malaysia is alarmed by the defacement of the Christian bible by non-Christians chopping it with words that the Christians have not accepted or agreed to,” it added.

The BSM had earlier today refused to collect its cargo of holy books that had been detained for the last two years after the home ministry imposed two conditions for their release.

The society was stunned that home ministry officials had moved to act on their own and only notified BSM after the act, and called on the ministry to immediately put a stop to it.

“As the bible is the holy book of the Christians, due respect should be given to it by consulting the relevant Christian representative organs before any external text is inserted into the bibles.

“Bible Society of Malaysia calls upon KDN to stop chopping the copies of the Alkitab detained at Port Kelang [sic],” it said in the statement issued today.

Church leaders have stressed that they cannot follow the conditions imposed by the ministry, as it would mean desecrating their own holy book.

It has been noted that the requirement is not shown in the 1960 ISA Act.  And as a result, they are not going to collect it. If this case is another of propaganda by UMNO, then look at Interlok as well.

This latest episode is bringing in several matters that can be highlighted:
1. Forcing a school of thought onto others: although the scenario is similar to the Sunni vs Shiite school of thought episode, this also shows that the government is forcing the thought of one religion being superior than the others into people of other religions. The matter of Sunni vs Shiite was highlighted in my posting last December entitled : Forcing One School of Thought.

2. The Home Ministry's latest action indicates the hard line attitude and conservatism adopted by civil servants running government departments. This is also in addition to the attitudes of civil servants in the cases of Hindu Temple bulldozing. It also demonstrates the fundamentalist thinking of the Islamic religion by those in charge of this matter.
3. Conservatism in the Book Import and Quranic Texts division as noted - the notice was issued by the division secretary Zaitun Abdul Samad. (see pic above, circled). 
4. This is not the first time that hysteria of Christianity was played in Malaysia. In the 80s, the mainstream media played up issues of mass conversions from Muslim to Christianity but the whole event turned up false. In 1987, a Malay man converted to Christianity was detained under ISA for being considered a "national threat" and false accusation of propagating conversions. However, the detention was thrown out by the Supreme Court in 1988. This show "political threat" is considered "national security issue" 

5. This problem would affect more on the Sabah Sarawak site for their culture and custom is not the same as in Peninsular. For more elaboration including some points above, refer to Uppercaise' posting here.

6. As of this time, there are approximately 2.8 million Christians nationwide. I noticed that there is not much can be done by ranting anger at the Home Ministry and especially Hisham who claims to say that the conditions fall in line with standards and etc..The anger that has to be shown is vote the ballot box.

7. Unfortunately, many try to be holier than thou thing by saying that this religion is superior than the other. If you look at the diagram, Islam and Christianity are the same offshoot of the Abrahamic teachings. That means Islam and Christianity come from Abrahamic. However, for those who are under the falsehood to say that one is better than the other, perhaps it is better ,as in what Ahmad Ismail from Bukit Bendera used to say "Balik China" - in this case and inverse, to go to the desert in Saudi. The Father of Turkey, Mustapha Attaturk viewed this "holier than thou" thing as a religion interference to the secular state that rules on law, not religion law.

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