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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Anwar: Racism, not Christians, is the threat

Anwar (left) greets a participant at his talk in London yesterday. — Picture by Danny Lim

By Shannon Teoh (Malaysian Insider)

LONDON, March 19 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has slammed as “ridiculous” the idea that Muslims in Malaysia were under threat from Christians, and instead accused Umno of sanctioning racism.

“In this Allah issue, the idea that Muslims are under threat from Christians is ridiculous to say the least,” he said at a press conference, after his talk at the London School of Economics here yesterday.

“They are playing with fire,” he said and added that the prime minister’s 1 Malaysia slogan, based on a united Malaysia, was not consistent with what was happening on the ground.

“Malaysia is not a Muslim state, or... well, I’m not sure now,” he joked. “But it is not secular either because there is not a total separation of religion and state.”

He explained that while countries like the United States are seen as secular, they were in fact built on religious principles.

Earlier in his talk, which saw hundreds being turned away, he accused Umno of simply feigning interest in Islamic values.

“What Umno has done is not about Islamic issues at all. If you find a committed Muslim, you can argue with him, but in Umno, they don’t even want to understand what Islam is about.

“It is just political expediency and a crude blend of politics. It is distasteful, the way they abuse the Chinese,” he added, in seeming reference to a recent racist statement by Datuk Nasir Safar, made when he was still an aide to the prime minister.

“There should be freedom not just for an ex-deputy prime minister,” he said in reference to the overturning of his sodomy conviction in 2004, “but all Malaysians.”

Anwar went on to explain that the basic issue was one of governance, and added that the strength of Islam in South East Asia was in its inclusivity and moderate position, which took into consideration the interests of other religions.

“The moment Syariah courts can compel non-Muslims, it transgresses fundamentals of the Constitution. It becomes contentious when you deny the rights of non-Muslims or use obscure Syariah interpretation to impose on non-Muslims.

“We need to educate Umno leaders,” said the former deputy president of the Malay party, drawing laughs from the 400-strong audience of mostly Malaysian students at the talk.

Comments by Dayak Sarawak, March 20, 2010

@yearofsnake One cannot be converted to Christianity. One, on his or her own conscience and FREE WILL choose to become a Christian. "Conversion ceremony" is not enough or necessary. Even though many Christians are born into Christian families, they need to affirm their faith on their own FREE WILL.

Other Christians are supposed to show good examples and live respectable lives that others may turn to God.

St. Matthew advised, "Let your good works so shine before men that they may see and glorify your Father who is in heaven". This makes life for a Christian very challenging. Christians are supposed to turn the other cheek when provoked with violence. Also a man who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar as how could he love God that he has not seen but hates his brother that he has seen. In some way, we can view Christianity as about self-regulation for good. As such it has to be self-conversion.

Now if the Muslim Malays are turning away from Islam due to the wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony of UMNO; hardly "Good Light" KPI. Who is to be blamed? Certainly not the Christians.

So I agree with Saudara Anwar.

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