10 Things Malaysian Muslims Need to Know/Remember/Realize About Malaysian Christians.
Written below is my opinion, as a Christian, as a Malaysian. Its not the official view of any church body and not all Christians.Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
And you need listen,listen,listen, to know and understand this, and just trust me on this.
1. We are not using the kalimah to convert Muslims to Christians. Of the THREE documented ‘conversions’ NONE were because of a Malay Bible.One was due to adoption, one read the English Bible (which he got himself) and the third was because of marriage.Contrast this to the tens of thousands of Christians converting to Islam in Malaysia and you will see, we are really the ones who should be worried.
2.Semenanjung Christians do not use the word because we PREFER it, we simply follow the word used in the Indonesian Bibles used by our Sabahan and Sarawakian brothers and sisters who attend service here in Semenanjung.Trust me, my priest struggles with Bahasa but does it just to accomodate them. Bahasa is the only language they really understand apart from their own native tongue. We’re not talking about the Bians and Bumburings and Ikings and Kitingans of the world here, we’re talking about students from the interior, manual workers and entry level staff.They are mostly Catholic and SIB (Sidang Injil Borneo), though many churches also have Sabahan and Sarawakians, and don’t forget the Indonesians, who have a large Christian population- Batak and Flores are technically almost entirely Christian.
For those asking, why not bring in a local Iban or Kadazan or Indonesian priest or localize the services…..they, like us are scattered. In Klang alone, there are four Catholic churches, many chapels, and more than thirty Protestant churches.Anyway, the law you are supporting, will affect them either way, whether they remain in Semananjung and East Malaysia.
3. By LAW , WE cannot give you ANY material regarding Christianity, be it a CD, or a Bible or an email. ALL Printed Material needs to be printed with ‘FOR CHRISTIANS ONLY’ Any attempt by a Muslim to obtain this is equally unlawful, as there are Syariah provisions against this.BY CONVENTION, Muslims do not attend Mass in Church. So HOW CAN something you CANNOT READ, CANNOT SEE, and CANNOT HEAR ever offend you? The idea that we would desecrate the kalimah equally illogical.Why would we insult God?
4. The usage of the word is not something new, it is something that predates Malaysia’s formation, the British Occupation. The Bible was originally Koine Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. Hebrew is very similar to Arabic.The Bible was translated first to Latin, then to another 1223 languages, 471 of which is commonly used. There are still efforts to translate another 1500 languages, mainly for academic purposes. Generally Christians believe the message of God is best delivered in the hearer’s own tongue. That is why Christian missionaries those days, spent years, learning the tongue, before translating the bible into it, then only preaching to them.It was the same with the Native Americans, Chinese,Japanese,South Americans, Africans. This is the opposite of how Islam was spread, which would be to teach the converts Arabic terms.
5.Malaysia is the only country in the world with this problem. Saudi Arabia, the world’s bedrock of Islam and Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, doesn’t.
6.Hostility towards us is clearly politically motivated, we have been living amongst you for many, many years, we’ve shared and built schools, orphanages,hospitals, old folks homes for Malaysians of all ages.There is zero proof ZERO, of any attempt other than feeble pseudo-hard-to-believe gossips and murmurs. Has anyone brought forward any concrete proof of any conspiracy to convert Muslims?Had we wished to do so, don’t you think we could have used ALL we’ve built above for Malaysians to convert everyone who stepped into those hospitals, schools, clinics or orphanages?
How come this has never been an issue before? Have you thought about it? Check most Christian hospitals, orphanages,schools. Look for the plaque and see who officiated these buildings and you will find many of them opened by the Rulers. Check the plaque at YMCA Kuala Lumpur. See who was their first patron.
7. Lest you forget this bond of friendship, we are the only religion in Malaysia that is mentioned by name in Acts of Parliament apart from Islam.The large proportion Malaysian Christians are mostly from the Straits Settlements- they were already British Overseas Citizens. So the argument that we were poor, desperate and sought shelter here and have a hidden agenda to subvert the nation is not quite accurate.In fact its quite stupid.
8. Rights granted should not be revoked without good reason. We’re not asking for any new rights. In fact, many of our old rights were taken away- including restrictions on places of worship,removal of crosses from buildings we’ve built. But this one, this is a bit too raw a nerve to touch.Christians feel quite worried and insecure.
9. Malaysian Christians are not the only ones using the word. Malaysian(and global) Sikhs and Baha’is use it as well.As do some Hindus. ALL of the world’s main religions came from Asia,and all Abrahamaic religions from a very small part in Asia Minor, hence, the etymological similarity should not be entirely unexpected.
10. Malaysian Christians , like most Christians are engaging and peaceful people. So please, don’t bully us. Please don’t allow yourselves to be consumed by blind hate led on by blind politicians.Many will provoke and ask you this question ‘WHAT MORE DO THEY WANT?’ My answer would be, ‘We just wanna be left alone’.