They look like the ordinary Joe you and I would walk past without even batting an eyelid. They look like your insignificant neighbour whose name you never bothered to find out, let alone what he does for a living, and if his family is okay.
After tonight, they are no longer insignificant to me. Not especially if a large number of the insignificant have turned their back on Islam, and embraced by the Evangelists.
I once touched briefly on this subject (While The Malays Sleep) but I guess the recent statement by Karpal Singh calling the nation secular, challenging opponents and Pakatan partners alike to prove him wrong, has not gone unnoticed to this blogger. I will touch on the subject of Karpal’s statement shortly.
I was invited to a media conference hosted by JATI President, Dato Dr Hasan Ali. What interested me was the fact that some 120 former proselytized Muslims were there to attend the berbuka puasa and Terawih with Hasan Ali. We had the opportunity to interview some of them and were shocked by what was revealed.
When the proselytization issue surfaced exactly a year ago today, we all learnt that around 13 people were interviewed by JAIS for attending a berbuka puasa event at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church. What we did not know until tonight was the fact that there were in fact more than 100 Muslims/former Muslims who managed to get away from the church when the raid commenced. Of the 13, 11 are said to have gone overseas and will only return to vote – and I bet they will not be voting for the Barisan Nasional.
During one of the interviews, an interviewee revealed that the Evangelists prey on those Muslims and non-Muslims in need – single mothers, pregnant factory workers, families in debt, terminally ill patients in hospitals, LGBTs who are shunned by their family and so on. A transgender also revealed how he was showered with assistance, be they in kind or cash, and finally opened up to the Evangelists and became a Christian for more than two years. One of the proselytized admitted the churches had helped them for over 10 years. Another was a person with medical complications who cannot afford the treatment and had to face lots of bureaucratic bullshit when applying for assistance. In the end, it was the Evangelists who courted her and won. She was a Christian for more than six years. In her group, which represents one part of Kelana Jaya, proselytized Muslims numbers around 400. If her group has 400, I wonder how many other groups that have similar numbers.
These are people who had no one to turn to. Pregnant but single Malay women and transgenders who are shunned by their family and community; people with complex health issues with no means to afford treatment. HIV shelters insist that those seeking help from them undergo Christian programs. What have we, as Muslims, done to help them? Hasan Ali commented that the administration of the Zakat is too bureaucratic while the churches give out assistance, including cash, quickly and seamlessly.
Ask a Muslim for help, more often than not you won’t get one, or will not get what you want. A simple comparison would be this: on a Sunday, some churches in Petaling Jaya can collect at least three-quarters of a million Ringgit through donations from the members of their respective congregation. Whereas in a mosque, on a Friday, when that little box trolley is pushed around for people to stuff money inside, you often see people push the trolley past them onto the next person without putting even a single sen. Therefore, the difference is the Christians donate with conviction in return for salvation, whilst the Muslims think that the government has to provide all for the mosque. So, why should they donate?
Hasan Ali was the former Exco for Islamic Religious Affairs of Selangor, until he was ousted because of the DUMC raid. And despite His Highness the Sultan of Selangor’s decree that the event actually took place, but lacked evidence for any court action to be taken, other PAS assemblymen in Selangor seem to be in denial about proselytization efforts taking place in churches especially in Selangor.
This brings me to the constant attack on Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, on any government-linked institution, including the military, police and the religious authorities; and Karpal Singh’s statement in the Sun Daily. Karpal said:
PAS must accept the Federal Constitution for PR to win in the coming general election.
He said it is a matter of law that Malaysia is constitutionally a secular state, which is a basic structure of the Constitution and this cannot be amended even with a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
“In law, the basic structure of the Constitution is beyond amendment.”
In short, Karpal is saying that no matter what, if Pakatan Rakyat wins, Hudud will never be implemented. He is also implying that Islam is only an official religion, and not the religion of the Federation. He goes on to mention about the basic structure of the Constitution.
Here, Karpal is making a reference to the Kesavananda Bharati case in India where seven of thirteen judges in the case, including Chief Justice Sikri, declared that the Parliament’s constituent power was subject to inherent limitations. Parliament could not use its amending powers to damage, emasculate, destroy, abrogate change or alter the basic structure of framework of the Constitution. The concept of basic structure of the Constitution included the supremacy of the Constitution, republican and democratic form of the government, secular character of the Constitution, separation of powers between the legislature, executive and the judiciary, and the federal character of the Constitution.
Interesting to note, however, that there has never been an attempt, in legal terms, to define the basic structure of the Malaysian Federal Constitution. Karpal has, on at least one occasion during a trial, brought it up; but the court thought there was no need then to deliberate on the issue. Perhaps, the institution of the Malay Rulers are included within the basic structure. But whether the rights stipulated under Article 153 and/or Islam as the Religion of the Federation (and not merely an official religion) will be considered, remains to be seen.
In my opinion, this has to be addressed soon. Or else, we will see more of the insignificant Joes and DUMC issues happening should Pakatan win the next general election.
Added at 1.19pm 14th August 2012:
This is a video interview courtesy of KL Pos of one of the victims of proselytization: