By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Growing hedonism, materialism and liberalism among Muslims have weakened their faith and made them easy targets for Christianisation, Datuk Hasan Ali said today.
The sacked Selangor executive councillor for Islamic affairs told reporters this after screening videos of Malays who have allegedly converted to Christianity, one of whom had been involved in drugs and gangsterism before being given shelter and a paying job by a Christian group.
“This Westernisation and modernisation brings hedonism, the desire to be entertained without limits. It weakens the character and this is why it is so easy to convert them,” the former Selangor PAS chief said.
In a 16-minute “summary” video of testimonials by Malays who claim to have returned to Islam, Hasan also said hedonism is proliferating among Muslims who “instead of sleeping, go out late at night with friends. That is why we see Muslims jumping to join Christians.”
The Gombak Setia assemblyman, who has repeatedly accused Christians of proselytising Muslims since becoming part of the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government in 2008, also said Christian groups “who have large funds” could easily “fish” poor Muslims because society “thinks of materialistic things day and night.”
“Liberal Islam says any religion is okay, like in Europe and Indonesia. So we see families where the husband is Muslim, the mother is Christian and their four children can choose to be Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu without any obstacles as is practised here,” he added in the video.
Hasan screened today videos of three Malays allegedly converted by Christians, just two days after a seminar for teachers on the “threat of Christianisation” was held in Johor.
A 47-year-old man and his wife spoke in a 42-minute video about how they were converted by a Christian couple from Australia.
The “summary” video also shows Hasan praying with a 27-year-old, who can be heard off-screen, to bring him back to Islam.
The videos’ screening comes after the mercury rose between Muslim and Christian groups over Saturday’s seminar on the “Christian threat” organised by the Johor Mufti and Education Departments that required the attendance of over 300 religious schoolteachers.
Its original title — “Strengthening the Faith: The Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?” — was changed to drop the reference to Christians after an outcry from non-Muslim religious groups.
But the Johor Mufti Department insisted its content would not be changed, leading to further anger from the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST).
Hedonism…weakens the character and this is why it is so easy to convert them. — Hasan Ali
The inter-faith group called on Datuk Seri Najib Razak to “walk your talk” of moderation and unity under the 1 Malaysia slogan but the prime minister merely responded by saying all faiths should not be insensitive to each other and refused to censure Johor authorities.
This led to the Council of Churches Malaysia urging Christian ministers, such as Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, Datuk Seri Peter Chin and Tan Sri Bernard Dompok to raise the issue in Cabinet.
Christians form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million-strong population.
In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the word “Allah”, with the latter group 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, however, 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.
Conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.