Seminar prevents confusion among young Muslims, says Johor Mufti Department

The Johor Mufti Department has said its seminar on Saturday is to ensure young Muslims are not influenced by “the threat of Christianisation.”

The officer in charge of the seminar told The Malaysian Insider yesterday the department was jointly organising the seminar with the state education authorities because they “fear young Muslims will be confused and not understand” when faced with attempts to convert them.

“Even if there is no threat, we must be careful so that the faith of Muslims will not be influenced,” the official, who declined to be named, said when asked if he had proof of proselytising by Christians.

The seminar with the theme “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?) requires the attendance of two religious teachers from each of the 55 national schools across Johor.

The Johor Mufti and Education departments have come under fire for endorsing the unproven claim that Christians are threatening the Islamic faith.

Chrisanne Chin, Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) Youth Moderator, was shocked and in disbelief, saying yesterday “why is there a perceived threat? Do they have to create this sense of fear?”

Chin, who is also an executive council member of CCM, stressed that while she was not against religious teacher training programmes, one such as this would put pressure on the teachers to spread religious tension and fear among unsuspecting pupils.

The Cabinet’s interfaith panel head Datuk Azman Amin Hassan said the “provocatively-titled” seminar flies in the face of the government’s school-level interfaith harmony week launched last month by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He added that while “it is fine to improve your faith”, such seminars “will cause the [non-Muslim] community to feel uncomfortable.”

Azman also said in a text message that he has informed the federal government’s “education director-general for immediate action.”

Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday labelled the seminar as “a disgusting political manoeuvre to use religion to frighten the people”.

But the Malaysian Ulama Association (PUM) and Malay rights organisation Perkasa supported the seminar as necessary, insisting that the threat is real.

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