Why no action on mass conversions into Islam, ask Sabah Christians


Desmond Davidson, The Malaysian Insider

Sabah religious authorities have been asked to “nullify without further delay” all the mass conversions of natives into Islam that had taken place in the state, which Christian leaders said were performed fraudulently.

President of the Protestant Church in Sabah, Reverend Jensey Mojuin, addressing the monthly ethnic Kadazan-Dusun Christians’ gathering in Pitas this morning to sound their latest mamangkis, said no action had been taken despite police reports lodged on the matter.

“Three months had passed since the ‘shameful’ conversion of about 64 people, including children, from three villages – namely Kampung Layung Maliau, Dowokon and Sosop.

“Despite lodging police reports, no concrete action has been taken,” Mojuin said.

He said the inaction could only mean that the “extremist group” which performed the conversion “are enjoying the support and protection of some powerful people”.

He did not say who the powerful people were but the group reportedly was a Selangor-based Islamic non-governmental organisation known for its extremist religious views.

Mojuin said the mass conversion in Pitas, a majority of whom were followers of his church, was unjust and fraudulent and had threatened the peace and religious harmony enjoyed for so long in Sabah.

Pitas, up one of the “dog ears” of Sabah, is reportedly one of the poorest district in the state.

To get to Kampung Layung Maliau, one of the remotest villages in the district, is a three-hour walk from the suspension bridge across Sungai Penipak.

Villagers here are largely subsistence farmers planting tapioca, vegetables and maize. The village has neither electricity nor running water.

The 33 “converted” villagers there claimed on New Year’s Day, they were deceived into converting by the group, saying their presence in the Pitas town mosque where they were asked to go to was only to receive financial assistance.

They claimed they were promised RM800 per head but in the envelope they were given after signing some documents contained only RM100.

They said they were illiterate and no one explained what the form was about.

“This so-called mass conversion is, therefore, illegal,” said Mojuin, adding that it was done with deception.

“These extremists took advantage of those who are illiterate and extremely poor to trick them into thinking that they were bringing welfare aid from the government.

“Some accepted the so-called welfare aid and were asked to sign a document.

“This document is now used as proof that they have agreed to become Muslims,” he said.

Mojuin also slammed the government policy where Sabah Bumiputeras with a “bin” or “binti” in their names were automatically listed as Muslims in their MyKad.

That, he said, was “Putrajaya’s MyKad Islamisation of Bumiputera Christians in Sabah”.

On the use of the word “Allah”, Mojuin said “regardless of what Putrajaya or any earthly courts may say or do”, Bumiputera Christians in Sabah would continue to use the word “Allah” as their forefathers had done so.

“Let us make it very clear about that.

“Further, both the Sabah and Sarawak governments have assured us that we can continue to use the word as this has been used for generations.”