Airing Muslim convert’s dream stirs trouble

A Hindu group has filed a police report over an ‘insensitive’ radio programme which featured a speaker who converted to Islam after having a dream.

RK Anand, FMT

In the latest episode of brewing tensions with regard to issues of faith in Malaysia, a Hindu organisation has filed a police report over a programme aired on a Tamil radio station.

State-owned radio station Minnal FM had featured an interview with a Muslim convert last night and his remarks had irked the Malaysia HinduDharma Mamandram.

Speaking to FMT, the organisation’s secretary-general Rishi Kumar Vadivelu said that the speaker claimed to be a former Hindu born in the priestly Brahmin caste.

The Indian national added that prior to converting, he was a pious Hindu and well-versed with the religion’s scriptures.

“Identifying himself as a ‘Mahaguru’, the speaker claimed that he had dreamt of the Arabic words which a Muslim recites to profess his faith.

“And when he searched for the meaning of those words, he had apparently realised that this was the truth and urged the listeners to evaluate for themselves,” said Rishi.

Following this, the Malaysia HinduDharman Mamandram convened an emergency council meeting at around 11pm and decided to file a police report on the matter.

The report was lodged with the Brickfields police headquarters here.

‘This is insensitive’

Expressing disappointment with the editorial gatekeepers in Minnal FM, Rishi asked how these officials had allowed such a programme to be aired.

“We have nothing against the promotion of Islam but the speaker has no right to make statements that belittle other faiths.

“Airing this programme is insensitive on the part of Minnal FM and airing it now, when the Hindu festival of Deepavali is around the corner, is extremely insensitive,” he said.

In view of this, he wanted the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry and Minnal FM officials to accept responsibility and ensure that such a thing did not recur.

Inter-faith issues continued to be a problem in Malaysia, especially with its status still mired in dispute as to whether it is an Islamic or secular state.

In the past, Hindus were incensed when a group of Muslims staged a street protest with a severed head of a cow, considered a sacred animal to Hindus.

The protest was held to object the construction of a Hindu temple in a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood in Shah Alam.

Hindu activists and organisations saw red when the authorities had allowed the protest to take place without hindrance and were slow in their condemnation of the act.

Of late, the church had also often found itself embroiled in controversies such as the legal tussle over the usage of the Arabic term “Allah”, accusations of proselytising of Muslims and even a plot to turn Malaysia into a Christian state.

These religious tensions remain a thorn in the flesh of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, putting his much publicised 1Malaysia slogan under the spotlight.

‘Will the cops raid Jakim?’

Weighing in on the issue, MIC leader S Vell Paari also condemned the airing of the programme on Minnal FM last night.

He said while there was nothing wrong with promoting the values of Islam, such programmes however should not serve as a cloak to convert those of other faiths.