Pakatan Rakyat (PR) said today it will not support Saturday’s gathering of a million Muslims as Islam is not facing the threat of Christianisation.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told a press conference today that there was no reason to fear the church as “we have all the power and laws to enhance the understanding of Islam but it has not been done” by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
“Instead, those in power only inculcate fear. We have never believed that Islam is being threatened by Christianisation,” the PKR de fato leader said.
The Himpunan Sejuta Umat (Himpun) or Gathering of a Million Faithful, is organised by various right-wing religious groups calling for Muslims to rise up against the “challenge of Christianisation.”
The rally was mooted after the controversial raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on August 3 where it was alleged that Christians were proselytising to Muslims there.
About 1,000 Facebook users have confirmed their attendance so far but should Himpun draw much more this weekend, it could push Umno and PAS to seek relevance among more religious Malays.
With ethnic tensions already rising in the years following the 2008 general election, it could raise already simmering fears of Islamisation among non-Muslims and more liberal Malays.
Anwar (picture) added that after PAS said last night it would not back Himpun as the organisers wanted it to be apolitical, PKR had also decided to follow suit as “there can be negative impact” to inter-faith relations.
“But we have compelling evidence to suggest that Umno is involved as its media is playing it up and they only support an event if it is backed by Umno,” the Permatang Pauh MP said.
Distrust between Muslims and Christians peaked when the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) in Petaling Jaya on August 3, claiming it was proselytising Muslims.
This came after repeated disputes between church and mosque, such as the legal battle over the use of the word Allah to refer to the Christian god.
An initial court ruling allowing the Catholic Church to use the term Allah had led to places of worship being firebombed in January last year.
The government also buckled under pressure and ordered the release of Malay-language bibles seized before Sarawakians, half of whom are Christians, voted in the April 16 state polls.
Before the Jais raid, Umno’s Utusan Malaysia and Malay rights lobby Perkasa accused the DAP of conspiring to turn Malaysia into a Christian state.
Although DUMC has denied Jais’s claims, Utusan Malaysia fanned the flames with allegations that Christian groups in Kuala Lumpur and Johor were actively trying to convert Muslims.
Anwar added today that the party “advises our members not to attend the gathering due to the ramifications of such an event” but said that it would not take disciplinary action against those who do.
Can you imagine Muslims 60% of population fearful of a miniscule Christian population of 9%. Drumming up Christianophobia? This is just ILLOGICAL.The organisers and their supporters of HIMPUN must be out of their mind.
I doubt this HIMPUN thing will take off, we all have better things to do.
All this has served is to give political personalities mileage, and deflect our attention away from real life issues such high cost of living, poor economic conditions, etc
do not go ... that is the agenda of UMNO assembly ... so do not be caught by this trick,,,