Muslims get therapy after church meet

2011-10-10 12:46
Kuala Lumpur - Islamic authorities will provide counselling to a dozen Malaysian Muslims to "restore their belief and faith" after they attended a community dinner at a church hall, a royal sultan said on Monday.

The case has triggered worries among officials in Muslim-majority Malaysia that some non-Muslims were trying to convert Muslims. Proselytising of Muslims is punishable by prison terms of various lengths in most Malaysian states.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, the constitutional ruler of Malaysia's central Selangor state, said Islamic officials who inspected a dinner at a Methodist church hall in early August found "evidence that there were attempts to subvert the faith and belief of Muslims".

The sultan did not elaborate on the evidence or mention Christians in his statement, but said the evidence was "insufficient for further legal actions to be taken".

‘Unauthorised raid’

Church officials had repeatedly denied any proselytisation occurred at the dinner, which they described as a multiethnic gathering to celebrate the work of a community organization that worked with women, children and HIV patients.

Christian leaders had also criticized Islamic state enforcement officials for what they called an unauthorised raid.

Malaysia's state sultans command immense moral clout particularly among Malaysia's ethnic Malay Muslims, who regard them as the top authorities on Islamic issues. Muslims, who comprise nearly two-thirds of the country's 28 million people, are not legally permitted to change religion.

"We command that (Islamic officials) provide counselling to Muslims who were involved in the said dinner, to restore their belief and faith in the religion of Islam," Sultan Sharafuddin said.

Reverend Hermen Shastri, the general secretary of Malaysia's Council of Churches, said the sultan's statement "brings closure to the case".

Rights of minorities ‘not respected’

"No one should speculate or aggravate the situation further," he said.

The sultan added on Monday he was "gravely concerned and extremely offended by the attempts of certain parties to weaken the faith and belief of Muslims".

"We hope that after this, any and all activities ... for the purposes of spreading other religions to Muslims in Selangor must be ceased immediately," he said.

Malaysia's non-Muslims mainly comprise Christians, Buddhists and Hindus, some of whom have complained in recent years that enforcement officials are often overzealous in trying to uphold Islam and fail to respect the rights of minorities.
Read more on:    malaysia  |  religion

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.