Thursday, February 26, 2015

One Million Translated Copies Of The Quran To Be Distributed To Non-Muslims A Cause For Concern

Majlis Perundingan Malaysia Agama Buddha, Kristian, Hindu, Sikh dan Tao
Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism

9 February 2015

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST)refers to a project organised by the Islamic Information and Services Foundation under which one million copies of the Quran will be produced and translated into Tamil, Chinese, English and Malay to be distributed to the public (STAR on 9/01/2015). Tun Dr. Mahathir who is the projects patron said it was aimed at lessening misconceptions and alleviating the fear of Islam amongst Non-Muslims. Dr. Mahathir further gave an example of "the verse that allowed Muslims to kill Non-Muslims only touched on one event in the history of Islam. It does not mean we are told to kill other people".

The reason and example advanced by Tun Dr Mahathir on the need to distribute the translated version of the Quran to the Non Muslims specifically does not make sense. It is Muslims who are indulging in killing and condemnation of other religions and religionist. Therefore, the need is for Muslims to be educated on the true teachings of Islam and not the Non Muslims.

Further, it appears that the purported ignorance of the Muslims is sought to be transferred to the Non-Muslims, to justify the distribution of copies of the Quran in Chinese, Tamil, etc. to the Non-Muslims. We have to emphasise that Non-Muslims have not carried out any acts of terrorism in the name of Islam and thus are not confused.

The actual intention thus appears to be to propagate the Islamic faith to the Non-Muslims under the guise of removing misconceptions of Islam.

The first objection to this is that the intended distribution of the translated Quran to Non Muslims is being done in bad faith as the main reason given to remove misconceptions does not hold water as the misconception is with the Muslims and not the Non-Muslims.

Muslims vehemently object to any exposure of Non-Muslim religions to them. They rely on Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution which allows the State to restrict or control the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.

Article 11(4) is supposed to be used as a shield by the Muslims. However, It cannot be used as a sword to oppress the others or to propagate their faith to the Non-Muslims. The maxim "Do onto others, what you would have them do onto you" is apt. Nothing in Article 11(4) authorises Muslims to propagate their faith to the Non-Muslims.

Section 298A of the Penal Code makes it an offence for any person to "cause, or attempt to cause, or is likely to cause disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will... on grounds of religion..." Thus, propagation of one's faith by inducements, other pretexts, etc. may amount to an offence under Section 298A.

Article 11(1) gives every person the right to profess and practise his religion. Therefore he has every right to reject the propagation of other faiths to him.

The following instances show that there is a concerted effort to persuade Non-Muslims to abandon their faith:
  1. Various instances reported in the last few years about students in colleges and universities being converted to lslam.
  2. A recent instance in Sabah where 69 natives were alleged to have been converted to Islam through deception.
  3. Yayasan Pusat Hidayah (HCF), an Institution under the Prime Minister's Department has stated its objective as "mensasarkan untuk mendapatkan 3,000 mualaf tahun ini" (Free Malaysia Today on 18/7/14).
  4. Multi-racial Reverted Muslims founded in 2010 by Firdaus Wong Wai Hung (Buddhist turned Muslim) distributed between 15,000 to 20,000 CD/s in Peninsular Malaysia last December just days before Christmas including one entitled "Jesus Christ in the Quran".
  5. The Role of Jakim, Perkim and Jabatan Agama is well known. Jakim has an Annual Budget of about RM800 million.
In addition to the above, various inducements are provided for converts to Islam, although it is officially denied. For example, Section 29(1) of "Akta Pentadbiran Undang-Undang (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) 1993 provides that a registered mualaf (i.e - a person who has converted to Islam), "is entitled to receive assistance as determined by the Majlis as follows:

(a) conversion to Islam; (b) circumcision; (c) lbadah kit and (d) funeral expenses. Section 29(2), the mualaf may further apply for assistance for (a) living assistance (b) residential assistance (c) medical assistance (d) marriage assistance (e) for any form of education or training which the Majlis thinks necessary, including Islamic studies, academic and skills and (f) legal assistance". The Majlis has also discretion to provide any other necessary assistance which it deems necessary to the mualaf.

MCCBCHST is of the view that the intended distribution of the translated copies of the Quran to Non-Muslims is obnoxious as a similar right is not given to Non-Muslims. Further, the Quran being a Holy Book should not be distributed so freely as there may not be proper respect shown to it. Some Muslims may think that the possession by Non-Muslims of the translated copies of the Quran is blasphemous. What happens if the translated copies have words which have been forbidden for use by Non-Muslims by the various State Enactments?

MCCBCHST therefore, advise Non-Muslims not to accept the translated copies of the Quran. The Non-Muslims have every right to protect their religion and to alert their children and members of their family of the advances made by Islamic information and Services Foundation. Non Muslims have every right to practice their religion in peace and harmony as provided for in Article 3(1) of our Federal Constitution.

Article 3 (1) sates "Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.".
Dated: - 09 February 2015

Sardar Jagir Singh
Venerable Dato Seri Jit Heng
Deputy President
Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow
Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan
Elder Kong Yeng Phooi
Prematilaka K.D. Serisena
Hon. Secretary General


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