Sunday, January 28, 2007

NST 28.01.2007 : Mufti : Allow Chinese to Build Mosques

This was what I wrote on page 29 of The Malay Ideals (GBC 2002):

Greater number of non-Malays could also be summoned into Islam through a scheme whereby the government lends assistance to the Chinese as well as Indian Muslims to establish their own brand of Muslim Cultures.[1] They must be assisted in building their own mosques with all its cultural elements professed in their architecture and settings. Their dress code will also be Chinese and Indian costumes and dresses such as the cheong-sams and saris, that are tailored towards Islamic needs. The same goes with languages, writing, foods, customs and other idiosyncrasies. They have to be maintained and upheld as long as it is not against Islam. When such cultures exist in Malaysia, it will therefore be more acceptable to the Chinese and Indians to reflect upon Islam without harboring any racial prejudice or bias. Hence, they would be more open to dialogues. It would demonstrate the feasibility of being a Chinese or an Indian and yet be a Muslim at the same time. The presence of large numbers of Chinese Muslims in China and Indian Muslims in India testify to this. Although they are a minority in these states, nevertheless, their numbers far exceed the number of Muslims in Malaysia itself. They have crystallised their own Muslim cultures which incorporated their racial nuances and idiosyncrasies into the Muslim element.

Therefore in Malaysia, Chinese Muslim and Indian Muslim cultures need to be established. Only when all of these elements exist in Malaysia, would the non-Muslim Chinese and Indians contemplate on the possibility of coming to Islam in large numbers and consolidate upon our integration. In the same breath, the Malays must remember never to entice the non-Malay Muslims into accepting the Malay culture as being the only "Islamic" culture in Malaysia. They must allow the non-Malays to develop their own cultures. Until then, other programmes would only be of limited success. In other words, to segregate the image that a Muslim must always be Malay[2] is a core factor to successful da'wah and integration in Malaysia.

[1] MACMA (Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association) which is affiliated to PERKIM as an associate member, could be a starting point. The objectives of MACMA are to promote Islam as the universal religion, to propagate the teachings of Islam and to promote Islamic Brotherhood.
[2] Traditionally a non-Malay person of non-Muslim background who chooses to adopt and embrace Islam is often labelled as "masuk Melayu" literally "entering Malay" (becoming a Malay).

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