Aliran is relieved to know that the organisers of the forthcoming Islamic seminar in Johor – ‘Strengthening the faith, the dangers of liberalism and pluralism and the threat of Christianity towards Muslims’ – have dropped the purported ‘Christian threat’ from the title after objections particularly from certain quarters within the Christian community.
It is a relief to well-meaning Malaysians because in a society where religion and ethnicity are often easily and deliberately exploited to the hilt, those with ill intent and ill-will can easily stoke suspicion and hatred. But what about the content of the seminar? Will it still discuss the so-called threat of Christianisation even though it has been dropped from the title of the seminar?
We are cautious as narrow-minded vested interests and the politics of divide and rule still hold sway while those espousing the fire of ethnic and religious discord can undermine our unity and harmony.
To be sure, every religious community has every right to practise and fortify its collective faith but it is also expected to have respect for others from different faiths.
Additionally, one would expect the faithful of any revealed religion to be duty-bound to promote peace and goodwill among fellow human beings – and not sow seeds of discord and enmity.
That said, it is rather disturbing and very disappointing to note that the powers-that-be have glaringly kept mum over this serious controversy. This silence can be easily mistaken by irresponsible elements in our society as tacit acquiescence that could encourage them to further breach the accepted boundaries of decency in a multi-ethnic society.
Dr Mustafa K Anuar
30 March 2012