Asri: Woman Denies Embracing Christianity

Former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said that one of the 12 Muslims who were present at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church's Aug 3 event had denied having converted to Christianity.

While the woman did concede that there were others who have embraced Christianity, she had remained faithful to Islam.

The conversions, Asri said, was the fault of the country's Islamic institutions for failing to help underprivileged Muslims.

"The single mother I met was deserted by her husband and had to raise three children. She could not afford to pay the rental for the house where she was staying and had gone to the Islamic authorities for help, but was turned away.

"Only after she got a support letter from a politician did she get zakat tithe. She was also turned down by the Welfare Department," he said.

Asri said that the woman had confided in him that a Christian friend had recommended her to seek help, which led to her relationship with the church, though there was no mention of which church it was.

"How can she experience the greatness of Islam when her fellow Muslims do not care about her and refuse to help her?... When her children are sick the church cares, her livelihood is supported by the church and even her daily needs were provided," he lamented.

According to Asri, the DUMC dinner was not the first time that the woman was caught by the Islamic authorities.

Following the first incident, the Zakat Department promised to help her to open a kindergarden, but when it was not forthcoming, the church again stepped in to assist in paying the rent of the premises.

"Despite being a devoted Muslim, she often bring her children to church. Her children are instilled with Christian teachings by the church. They are taught hymns and certain moral values. For her, all this is done as a matter of survival."

Asri explained that he was told there were many other underprivileged Muslims who were in a similar position had allegedly converted because they were disappointed by the uncaring attitude of the Muslim community and were influenced by the church's goodwill, even though they were not forced to do so.

Do more to help poor Muslims

The former mufti urged Muslims to take responsibility for the situation rather than bashing Christians and churches.

"If we want to escape responsibility, it's easy, we blame it all on the church. We blame them for being the source of all problems. And then we demonstrate and fuel public sentiments against the church for carrying out charity and missionary work.

"But when we do not help and carry out missionary work, we do not blame ourselves. Is this what we have become?" he asked.

While acknowledging the good work of the Islamic authorities, Asri called on them to do more by seeking out poor Muslims and assisting them.

"If the zakat system is working, even non-Muslims will be attracted to Islam, but if the zakat system is not working, even Muslims will want to leave the religion," he exclaimed.

Early this month, Jais raided a dinner that was held within DUMC compound which was attended by 12 Muslims.

The raid has fuelled speculations of proselytisation among Muslims. However, the organisers of the event, Harapan Komuniti, had clarified that it was a HIV fundraiser event.

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