Muslim-Christian Dialogue To Continue

PAS leader Mujahid Yusof Rawa today vowed to continue with the Christian-Muslim dialogue that he has initiated, saying the Quran encourages such engagement.

He told reporters he had no qualms about defying individuals or groups opposed to the initiative, even though some of them were claiming to be from PAS.

Mujahid is a member of the PAS Central Committee and the MP for Parit Buntar.

The first of the inter-faith sessions went on smoothly at St Mark’s Church here last night despite initial hitches.

The participants, numbering fewer than 50, gathered at the church before proceeding to a restaurant in nearby Kampung Benggali. A group of protestors followed them there.

The restaurant owner turned the dialogue participants away. So they went back to the church to have their discussion, joined by a few more people, including some who had been seen among the protestors. Police presence was heavy, but nothing untoward happened.

Groups opposed to the dialogue held a noisy demonstration on Saturday at Speakers’ Square in George Town. Some questioned Mujahid’s religious and scholarly credentials. A police report has been lodged against him.

At today’s press conference, Mujahid shrugged off the rhetoric against him, noting that several verses in the Quran exhort believers to have dialogues with Christians and Jews.

“We are told to interact with Christians,” he said. “Allah tells us to do it. Who are these NGOs to oppose the holy verses?”

He urged his detractors to attend future dialogue sessions.

“Perhaps, they may then realise that we are doing good at such events. All religions enjoin the good and forbid evil.”

Mujahid has written a book about his experiences in engaging Malaysia’s Christian community.

“We must mature as a society,” he said. “As Muslims, we should not be afraid of anybody. Our faith remains solid although we conduct dialogues with officials of other faiths. We cannot allow this process to be hijacked by extremism.”

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