Monday, May 26, 2008

The day Catholics welcomed a man from PAS in Shah Alam

Partai Islam SeMalaysia or PAS often conveys a fundamentalist, hard-line image to non-Muslims. Getting behind the rhetoric, Insider's DEBRA CHONG shows there's a more engaging, even openly embracing, side to some PAS politicians.

Malaysian Insider (5/4/2008): “Better the devil you know than the angel you don't”. Those familiar with this phrase by Ethiopian satirist Hama Tutu usually hear it advocated in the face of change, when those in power anticipate a revolt.

In Shah Alam, however, some 2,000 Christians have learnt that it's better to embrace the unknown entity than to put up with and suffer a known demon.

On March 27, Khalid Abdul Samad became the first elected Muslim Member of Parliament to step into the Roman Catholic Church of the Divine Mercy since it was completed in 2005. The congregation gave him a standing ovation.

Perhaps more stunning is that Khalid is from Parti Islam SeMalaysia and was the one to initiate contact. And he reassured the Christians in attendance that they could continue to use the word “Allah” in their worship without fear of persecution.

Previously, the federal government had banned Christians from using the word “Allah” in referring to God in their worship for fear that it would confuse the Muslim Malays and lead them astray from Islam. Bibles printed in the national language were also seized. This was reversed sometime last year, but the damage was already done.

Khalid said that in all Arabic-speaking communities, “Allah” just means “God”, therefore it is not “unique to Islam”. He had once attended church in the Middle East and heard a Christian priest preach in Arabic with no trouble.

“For us, the problem is we're not an Arabic-speaking country. Therefore some people question why non-Muslims have to use this word when it is not really necessary. People then make all sorts of speculations about idealogy. But there's no reason for the word to be banned from Christian worship. We're quite happy if people use it.

“It's not just my personal opinion but is consistent with the party's view. Basically it shouldn't be any problem. And I made it quite clear to the people in church that night,” Khalid explained over the phone yesterday.

The parishioners were especially impressed that Khalid was the one who approached them.“It was his own initiative. He contacted our parish priest, Father Paulino Miranda, and said he wanted to come and talk to us,” Joseph Victor, chairman of the church's parish pastoral council told The Malaysian Insider on behalf of Fr Paulino who is away on sabbatical till April 18.

The parishioners applauding at what YB Khalid Abdul Samad was saying
(Photo courtesy of Herald Catholic Weekly)

“That's a good sign. Everybody was very happy. This is the first time a Pas MP is coming to a Catholic church. It shows they're not against Catholic churches,” he added.

It was the first time an MP for Shah Alam had, unasked and unaided, actively engaged the non-Muslim community in public discourse in their own backyard, at least on this side of the peninsula.It spurred a parishioner, Tony Yew, to blog about the experience on his website.

“What was evident from the points raised by those who could get their voices heard was crystal clear, abundance of local council issues and the fear of 'subtle religious' persecution.

“With no one to turn to, YB Khalid took all the questions one by one and stressed that the newly-formed coalition government of PKR-Pas-DAP (in no order) was one of consensus by nature,” he wrote.

But Khalid was quick to disclaim credit for the unprecedented move. He said the discourse was made possible because of the mixed effort on both sides.

“Our people working in the (Shah Alam) area heard that the parish priest was campaigning for change in the elections and advocated the congregation to use their votes to bring about change,” said Khalid.

He recounted that he wanted to speak to them, to thank them for giving the Oposition their mandate for change. “I tried my best to answer most of the questions. We talked about government policies, about discrimination – there shouldn't be any! – enforcement and implementation, which would require more detailed explanations, but I just talked about it in short.”

A 9-minute video clip of the dialogue has been made availble on YouTube.

Related: Dzulkefly may be the first Muslim MP at a Catholic Mass (Malaysian Insider )


mal887 said...

tahniah....menghilangkan sokongan saya kepada PAS.....

TheBendahara said...

YB Khalid,
kami tahu YB seorg yg berilmu(cerdik dlm ilmu ugama)boleh berikan dalil dan sebagainya, namun YB perlu ingat diluar sana ada anak2 muda(Islam) yg kurang pendidikan islam senang dipengaruh..
Contoh seandainya mereka minum arak dan tak solat; senang bg mubaligh kristian pengaruh mereka; berkata "kita sembah tuhan yg sama iaitu Allah, jadi marilah convert (jadi kristian)xyah risau dosa pahala xyah solat..apa nk risau tuhan kita sama(sembah Allah)"..ini yg YB mahukan??
Adakah selepas ini, YB sokong pulak agama lain mengunakan "Allah" untuk mengantikan berhala pulak? Sifatnya berbeza, namun oleh kerana mereka nak gantikan "tuhan" kepada "Allah", sama mcm Herald sahaja tindakannya..
Kita mengucap kalimah syahahadah "aku naik saksi tiada tuhan disembah melainkan Allah. Dan Nabi Muhammad Pesuruh Allah"..adakah kristian mengucap kalimah ini?

mohd zawawi said...

saya amat tak faham akan tindakan anda sebab daripada sewajibnya memperjuangkn islam agama yg anda anuti anda beriya-iya nak menjadi pejuang kristian. islam diserang dari segenap sudut tapi tidak pula nampak mempertahankannya menjadi agenda utama anda. sekarang adalah zaman yg mana semua tindakan ada maksud yg tersembunyi jadi sy tidak faham apa kelebihan yg islam perolehi dari tindak-tanduk anda ataupun sememangnya anda adalah ejen kristian yg bertopengkan islam dan pas. rasanya kemungkinan itu ada sebab orang islam yg beriman tidak akan ke gereja sebaik dilantik jadi wakil rakyat tetapi masjid adalah tempat yg paling sesuai dijadikan keutamaan lagipun kaw. yg anda wakili ialah kaw majoriti islam. taubatlah,taubatlah,taubatlah

Dewi Aja said...

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