by Joe Fernandez
COMMENT Perkasa’s latest allegations on the Christians, given undeserved space by Malaysiakini, are going viral on the net.
This is the first time that a Muslim, Ibrahim Ali, has threatened to launch a Crusade — Perang Salib or War of the Cross — against Christians. So far, all Crusades in world history have been launched by Christians against Muslim occupation of the Holy Land.
If Perkasa wants to fight for the Cross, Christians would no doubt welcome it.
Christians have long considered Islam as a protestant branch of their faith.
If World Islam had a head, it could have decided like all the other Protestant Churches to join the Ecumenical Council initiated by the Vatican. The result so far, among others, has been a decision by the 77 million strong Anglican Church to return to the Vatican’s fold.
Perhaps what Ibrahim really means is a War of the Crescent or Perang Bulan Sabit against Christians and not Perang Salib. Why would any Muslim, unless he has become an apostate (murtad), launch a Perang Salib?
Ibrahim Ali is one confused character.
That’s why his threat to launch a Perang Salib against Christians has drawn no response from them and has sent malaysiakini, his equally ignorant co-backer besides Mahathir Mohamad, up the wall.
Ibrahim, the right-wing NGO’s Chief, has accused Christians of almost everything from converting Malays to the faith to plotting to put a Christian as the Prime Minister of Malaysia and declaring Christianity — presumably Roman Catholicism — as the national religion to thereby place the country on the world map as a Christian state, whatever that means.
There’s not even one Christian state in the world, given the separation of Church and State in the religion.
So, if Malaysia becomes a Christian state, it would be a world first.
It was not so long ago that the Serbs fought tooth-and-nail against Bosnia-Herzegovina emerging as the first Islamic state in Europe. The Dayton Peace Accord subsequently outlawed the concept of an Islamic state in Europe and renewed its commitment to secularism.
In any case, if Perkasa’s allegations are the Gospel truth, to put a pun on them, the Christians could not be wrong by any yardstick.
The majority of the land area of Malaysia — Sabah and Sarawak — is Christian.
The 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 20/18 Points clearly states that Sabah and Sarawak would have no state religion.
The Dusuns — including Kadazans or urban Dusuns — and Muruts, the overwhelming majority of the Natives in Malaysia, are Christian.
The Orang Asli, the only recognised Native group in Peninsular Malaysia, are mostly either Christian or Pagan.
The Federal Constitution, and rightly so, does not state anywhere that the Malay-speaking communities in Peninsular Malaysia are natives of the land. Bumiputera is not a term in law or the Constitution.
Again, while Article 3 of the Federal Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the Federation, it goes on to add that followers of other religions are free to practice their respective faiths in peace and harmony in all its constituent parts.
The freedom of worship guaranteed by the Constitution covers all citizens.
Under law, the Malay-speaking communities are free to profess any religion. There can be no compulsion to get anyone to profess this or that faith only. That would not only be against the very letter and spirit of the Constitution but also against international laws, against the United Nations Charter and against the Human Rights Charter.
The truth cannot be swept under the carpet just to serve the political interests of an elite group in power or aspiring to come to power.
There’s no contradiction here since no faith, according to the Federal Constitution, is the national or even official faith of the country.
Malaysia remains a secular state despite Perkasa raving and ranting against Christians and Mahathir declaring not so long ago, during his last days in office, that the country was an Islamic state. Pas was among the first to point out the sheer lunacy of Mahathir’s statement.
An Islamic state is one in which God is the head of state, the Quran is the Constitution and the Syariah — the Path of God — forms the basis of a still to evolve legal system.
By this definition, it need not be repeated, that Malaysia is no Islamic state. A state cannot be classified as an Islamic state simply because members of the Muslim faith are in a slight majority in the demographic make-up.
In fact there’s not even one Islamic state in the world and that holds true for Saudi Arabia as well and Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan — which broke away from India to form an Islamic state — and, among others, Indonesia which has the largest Muslim population in the world.
If Malaysia is not an Islamic state, it’s not a Christian state either.
However, that does not mean the Natives in Sabah and Sarawak are not free to declare their respective states as Christian states and provided of course the Church agrees. The 20/18 Points and the Malaysia Agreement, in letter and spirit, merely prevents a non-Christian faith from being hoisted on the people of the states as the national or official one.
Ibrahim should mind his language and not make it seem somehow that the concept of a Christian state is a mortal sin. That’s not only sacrilegious but a blasphemy. Before the advent of secularism in Europe, all states in the continent were Christian states. The Pope crowned the heads of these states.
The Perkasa Chief should also stop harping on Muslims turning to Christianity or any other religion.
It’s their fundamental right to pursue any religion without someone trying to force anything down the throat.
Religion is a private matter. It’s only proper that the adherents of any faith be allowed to pursue their beliefs in peace and harmony without this or that religion being knocked in the process or the Church, or any other organisation, having to run the gauntlet on the issue.
There’s nothing that states that members of the Malay-speaking communities or Muslims have to declare themselves or that they cannot practise any other faith, whether openly or secretly. We know from history that the first Christians in Rome, during a time of Empire, had to practise their faith in secret unless they wanted to risk being fed to the lions in the Coliseum in a new form of entertainment to amuse the Romans. This may be the case with the secret Christians in Malaysia.
The Christians in Malaysia must be left alone to practise their faith without being flogged to death on the matter.
Likewise they are free to install a member of their faith in the Prime Minister’s chair.
The Constitution does not bar any citizen, except for insolvents and the insane, from taking the oath of office as Prime Minister. Insanity is not a medical but a legal concept. That goes for insolvency as well.