Who is an insult to Muslims Anwar or Abdul Karim Omar (PEMBELA)

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive! That’s the whole problem with Umno in short. It has deceived the country and most of all it has deceived the Malays into believing that only Umno can deliver the Malays to the Promised Land. And it continues to weave the web … Read more

UMNO-APCO & ZIONIST ISREAL TWO RACES WITH ONE GOAL TO DESTROY THE ENEMY AT ANY COS

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been saying some interesting things about forgiveness this week. He told the Radio Times: “I think the 20th century saw such a level of atrocity that it has focused our minds very, very hard on the dangers of forgiving too easily… because if forgiveness is easy it is as if the suffering doesn’t really matter”. In this Easter message, he states that it’s not fair to expect victims of abuse, rape or torture to turn the other cheek with ease.

I totally agree. All too often we sanitize and simplify forgiveness, when in fact it’s an arduous, exhausting task — messy, risky and unpredictable.

Right-wing Muslim groups today accused Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of pandering to the interests of “the enemies of Islam”, calling him an insult to all followers of the religion.

 

Representatives of several Muslim groups told reporters today that they took exception to Anwar’s remarks against a seminar on “the threat of Christianisation”, saying it was a direct provocation towards Muslims in the country.

“Anwar has always been consistent against efforts to preserve Islam… this issue is done for political mileage.

“His (Anwar’s) remarks are anti-aqidah, an insult to Islam and a betrayal to all efforts to strengthen and promote Islamic activities and events,” said Ismail Mina Ahmad, president of Islamist group Muafakat, at a news conference here.

Also present was Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam (PEMBELA) secretary-general Abdul Karim Omar, who said some 20 other Muslim groups supported his group and Muafakat’s stand.

“Why are Muslims against their own kind? If you want to be liberal, be liberal on your own, don’t drag other people along.

“It’s like if you want to jump off a building, why are you dragging other people with you?” said Ismail.

Asked if the groups felt that the threat of Christianisation was real, Ismail said that it was a “serious problem.”

“If you look at Buddhists, Indians, they are not aggressive, not like Christians.

“Especially Zionist Christians, they provoke Muslims with their evangelical ways,” Ismail claimed.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have demanded Putrajaya explain this weekend’s “anti-Christianisation” seminar in Johor, saying the event was a dangerous move that could add further tension to the country’s religious ties.

“What I can confirm is that this is nothing other than a disgusting political manoeuvre to use religion to frighten the people,” Anwar said.

The opposition leader was quick to link the matter to Umno, saying it was often leaders from the country’s ruling party who had a penchant for using religion to capture Malay support.

Anwar added that if the alleged threat of Christianisation is real, those claiming to know of such incidences should furnish proof instead of instigating fear and anger among Muslims.

Religious teachers from national schools in Johor will attend an officially-sanctioned seminar this Saturday focussing on the “threat of Christianisation”, which has sparked outrage among Christians.

Organised by the Johor Education and Mufti departments, the seminar is themed “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?” (Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?).

Christians form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million population.

In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug of war over the word “Allah”, with Muslims arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim God.

Christians have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.

Conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.

As a result of Dr. Rowan Williams putting forgiveness back on the agenda this week, I have given six interviews for six different UK radio stations. On two occasions I was pitted against victims of an appalling crime, both of whom hardly surprisingly struggle with the very notion of forgiveness. The first was Colin Knox, whose son Rob Knox was stabbed to death in London in 2008. At the trial, the convicted man, Karl Bishop, refused to hear impact statements from Rob Knox’s parents and, as reported in the Times, “swaggered into court smiling at three friends in the public gallery… and smirked as he was sentenced.”

The second victim was Carol Quinn, whose daughter and two grandchildren were murdered in 2000 by Phillip Austin — her daughter’s husband and the father of the children. Carol Quinn had the horrifying task of walking into the house and discovering the bodies. The pain is as raw as the day it happened and indeed amplified by the fact that Phillip Austin, who received three life sentences, has never shown remorse.

In both radio shows the presenter suggested that forgiveness might be good for these two, still very traumatized parents, and then handed over to me. Of course, I didn’t go there. I hate the notion that anyone should be coerced into forgiving. Forgiveness should never be an obligation. It is a personal choice and not necessarily right for everyone. Indeed, to expect victims to forgive simply re-victimizes and heaps yet more guilt on them. Also, forgiveness is not black and white — to say you can’t forgive doesn’t necessarily mean you are eaten up by bitterness and rage. Colin Knox didn’t sound in the least bit bitter — just desperately sad.

When Colin Knox and Carol Quinn describe the lack of remorse and acute disrespect demonstrated by these two offenders, it’s easy to see why both parents feel that forgiveness is undeserved. Certainly no one deserves forgiveness — it is a gift from one person to another and only the sufferer is qualified to make that decision.

Some contest that forgiveness is interpersonal, a contractual relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, and that without repentance or remorse, you may be able to free yourself of vengeful anger, but it isn’t really forgiveness. As the professor of philosophy at Boston University, Charles L. Griswold,concludes, “forgiveness is neither just a therapeutic technique nor simply self-regarding in its motivation; it is fundamentally a moral relation between self and other.”

Terry Waite, for instance, who never had an opportunity to hear an apology from his kidnappers, describes his forgiveness as incomplete. For Griswold unilateral forgiveness is imperfect. Forgiveness must include, as a bare minimum, the giving up of revenge by the victim, and an assumption of responsibility by the offender. Anything less is either excuse or pardon.

So what of those who have suffered at the hands of perpetrators now dead, or unwilling or incapable of showing remorse? Are such perpetrators never deserving of forgiveness?

Those who believe in unilateral forgiveness would claim that forgiveness has nothing to do with the perpetrator and that if you wait for remorse you might be waiting for ever. According to author, Tony Wilkinson:

“The perpetrator may rarely understand what drove them, and their lack of understanding may prevent them from feeling or expressing remorse, but why does it matter? This process is part of your inner life, your inner journey and doesn’t depend on them, which is why insisting on remorse before forgiveness put the power in the wrong hands.”

 

There are in fact many people I’ve met, who, despite the perpetrator not expressing remorse, say they forgive. For instance Rebecca DeMauro, whose daughter was brutally murdered, explains how she decided to forgive following a long process of tormented grief which left her depleted and looking for another way forward. She says, “I knew if something didn’t change I would be in the graveyard, dead from a broken heart, next to my little daughter.”

In this sense forgiveness means not allowing the pain of the past dictate the path of the future; understanding that life is morally complicated, people behave in despicable ways, and that some things are inexplicable. At its most basic forgiveness is about acceptance and letting go.

So why might Rebecca DeMauro, and others who have never received an apology, choose to forgive? Is it because they recognize something distorted and broken in the perpetrator that might be traced back to childhood? A belief perhaps that a child’s moral growth can be thrown off course by trauma and deprivation, storing up problems for society that explode when these children become angry adults. I have noticed that people who forgive tend to look upon those who have committed atrocious acts not as evil monsters but — to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare — as “ruined pieces of nature”. And, in that space of brokenness, some find room for forgiveness.

The government must explain why it is allowing a “highly inflammatory” seminar on the “threat of Christianisation” to be held this weekend, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has said.

Religious teachers from national schools in Johor will attend an officially-sanctioned seminar this Saturday focusing on the “threat of Christianisation”. The seminar has sparked outrage among Christians.

The seminar, organised by the Johor Education Department and the Johor Mufti Department, is themed “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?” (Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?).

Two religious teachers from each of the 55 national schools across Johor are required to attend.

“How can the government agree to something which will affect different sensitivities?

“Is this the policy of the Education Ministry? Who has sanctioned this? Highly inflammatory, uncalled for, someone must be held responsible,” MCCBCHST honorary deputy treasurer-general Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri(picture) told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the council will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss the matter, and will come up with a more thorough response then.

“On behalf of the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) as well, we are extremely disappointed with the government for allowing this to happen,” said Shastri, who is also CCM secretary-general.

“What if we said Islam was a threat towards Malaysians, we can also ask… what happens then?” said the reverend.

A copy of a letter about the seminar from the Johor Education Department to national schools appears on its website.

Hasimah Abdul Hamid, supervisor for the Islamic Education Unit of the Johor Baru Education Office, declined to comment on the programme’s stance towards the apparent threat of Christianity against Muslims.

“The purpose of this programme is of course to strengthen the faith of Muslims,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

“But I can’t say anything about the title, because it was provided by the organisers.”

But the Malaysian Ulama Association (PUM) said yesterday the Johor government should not be apologetic for organising a seminar on the “threat of Christianisation” as it is an “Islamic” administration and has a duty to do so.

“We need to have these kind of seminars,” PUM president Datuk Sheikh Abdul Halim Abdul Kadir told The Malaysian Insider.

“I do not accept the excuse that Christians will be upset or hurt because of this seminar… the problem of Christianisation has been around for a long while, it is real.

“Therefore, any authority or government which is Islamic has a right to do this. You need to educate teachers, especially the young ones who are unaware of this problem.”

Christians form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million population.

In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug of war over the word “Allah”, with Muslims arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim God.

Christians have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.

A number of conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.

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