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By Daniel John Jambun
Which Christian can help being angered by the accusation by PAS’ problematic Hasan Ali that Christian missionaries are using eight ways to proselytize Muslims - one of which included using a rather far-fetched ‘solar-powered handheld talking Bible.’ He also said that
Christians were setting up welfare groups that handed out financial and other forms of assistance to single mothers, the poor, the elderly and others with inducements including daily provisions, capital for business purposes and other aid.

It is no surprise then that he got a proper tongue lashing from Islamic scholar, Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, for insulting both Muslims and the Islamic faith, and from Rev. Thomas Philips, the vice chairman of inter-faith group The Malaysian Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) who said, "Talk is cheap. Where is the proof. There are more than ample laws to punish those that try to proselytize Muslims so if Hasan Ali has evidence, put it on show. Don't just accuse."

I would like to remind Hassan, that his pro-Islamist party is the number one source of religious intolerance in Malaysia. In fact PAS was the original group that forced the once liberal Umno to become a religious extremist organization as well because it felt the need to compete to get Malay support since the 1970s. This was the biggest wrong turn in the history of the nation which has now become a country with little tolerance, in which racial groups have been so polarized that religious debates and mutual attacks are happening in a daily basis nowadays. What a shame!

Why is PAS so eager to make the Christian its enemies? Isn’t it enough that Perkasa has been attacking Christians to make the Christians appear to be the political devil in the country? Why is Hassan complaining about solar-powered Bibles? I have never seen, nor even heard of such a Bible, but let me tell Hassan this: If there is such a Bible, then I am very glad because now there is a new portable Bible which can help Christians keep up with the holy book while they are on the move, and without having to flip through the pages. And why would such a Bible a problem to Muslims? What about the electronic Al-Quran which is in the market to help Muslims read the holy book whole traveling? Are the Christians complaining about that? No! I would say, congratulations to the Muslims!

For Hassan’s information, although I have never seen a solar-powered Bible, there are already many portable Bibles everywhere now. Anyone can install a complete Bible text even in handphones. If you want the easier to read versions with larger fonts, there are other that can be uploaded into i-Pads and laptops. There are also thousands of websites in the Internet where the Bible is available in its many versions, in all languages of the world, including in Indonesian. But why should such a situation be a problem to Muslims when the Al-Quran is also available in many languages in the internet, including in the English and Malay languages. I myself have even glanced through these but id didn’t bother me at all. I didn’t feel that I was being proselytized, so why should the Muslims in PAS be so sensitive that they have to attack the Christians for having electronic Bibles? And why blame us if the Internet is full of Bibles and evangelism materials?

And let’s please understand that the meaning of the word proselytize comes both ways. Both Christians and Muslims are commanded by their holy books to proselytize others, but in Malaysia we are not allowed to proselytize Muslims, so we obey the law. But what is the point if we are still accused of proselytizing Muslims whether we do it or not? And we Christians all know that the Muslims are free to proselytize us, and as law-abiding citizens, we try to live with this unfair situation. But because we so obedient, groups like PAS and Perkasa are now expecting more from us: (a) Perkasa has demanded that Christians be not allowed to become teachers, (b) We are not allowed to use our own national language for our religious services, (c) We are not allowed to use around 30 words in our religion, especially “Allah” which unofficially can be used in Sabah and Sarawak but not in the Peninsular – a most stupid decision!, and (d) and Baru Bian in Sarawak had just claimed that Christian pre-schoolers in Sarawak are being taught Muslims prayers. PAS also needs to answer one very critical question about the sensitive matter of conversions: What if a Malay converts according to his own wish without any effort to proselytize him from anybody? Will PAS still be saying it is all the fault of Christians in Malaysia? What of the person was converted by studying Christian materials in the Internet or from books he bought from the bookstores? Does this mean that the Christians in Malaysia must now brace themselves the horror of PAS coming into power because they will be arrested and jailed in case some Muslim becomes Christians, even though the Christians have nothing to do with the conversion?

They want to step over our heads and make all sorts of accusations against Christians such as (a) We are supposed to be trying to convert Muslims, (b) We want to have a Christian Prime Minister in the country, and now (c) We are spreading electronic Bibles. What other sins will we be accused of next, I wonder.

Some people forget that we Christians have equal rights as Malaysians! We contribute to the development of the country, and we pay our taxes too. In fact more than 80 percent of the taxes in Malaysia are paid by non-Muslims! But when we build our churches or do evangelism work, we have to come up with our own money, while the Muslims have can use part of the taxes to build their mosques.

I just want to ask Hassan Ali a few more questions: If PR ever rules the country, is PAS going to create laws to suppress Christians even worse than what is happening now? Is the party going to ban all electronic Bibles? Will the party ban all kinds of social and welfare programs from being carried out by Christian organizations? And in view of the strange behavior that Hassan Ali is showing the public right now, is he saying that PAS doesn’t need the votes of Christians? I look forward to his response. And I can assure him this won’t be the last he will hear from me on the issue!

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