KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — An Islamic evangelical group accused of covertly amending the religious records of non-Muslims today urged critics of Islam to come forward and discuss their fears about the religion with them.
The group called the Multiracial Reverted Muslims (MRM) said despite having received numerous threats against them and their family members, they would not respond in kind.
MRM president Firdaus Wong Wai Hung said he does not understand why some non-Muslims have reacted aggressively against the non-governmental organisation (NGO) as the body has not forced anyone to accept free Qurans.
He added that the group has also not forced anyone to accept Islam, as alleged in a Whatsapp message that has been circulating recently.
“Accepting the Quran does not make one Muslim… I don’t know why non-Muslims are afraid and angry… must only ask them,” he told a press conference at the NGO’s office here.
The press conference was held to clarify the contents of the WhatsApp message warning that MRM was delivering free copies of the Quran in Teluk Pulai, Klang and recording the identification details of recipients that it would then use to amend their official identity records from non-Muslim to Muslim, without saying how the group achieved this.
Appended to the message were two pictures, one of a MRM vehicle and another depicting what appeared to be an evangelical session by the group’s members.
However, Wong denied the allegations in an interview with Malay Mail Online two days ago after the message made its way to the public.
He admitted that the vehicle, a van, does indeed belong to the organisation but it was not used to convert non-Muslims, adding that the message was being spread with ill intent.
He further explained that the picture of his volunteers was taken last December during a briefing session for a programme called “Street Dakwah (preaching)” in Penang, and not in Klang as alleged in the message.
“MRM is not the organiser of the ‘One Soul One Quran’ (OSOQ) project which the message was implying. The Islamic Information Services (IIS) is the organiser of that project,” he told reporters in reference to a project to distribute one million copies of the Quran to the public launched earlier this month.
On January 9, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reportedly launched the project by IIS, and was quoted as saying that the one million translated copies in the Tamil, Chinese, English and Malay languages will be for public distribution, in order to combat allegedly misleading interpretations of Islam as a “cruel religion”.
“We have already lodged a police report at the Shah Alam district police headquarters yesterday regarding the message, but it is not to ask the police to catch and penalise those behind the message, but to protect ourselves from any unwanted problems. We are not attempting to disrupt racial harmony,” he added.
Wong said that the OSOQ project, which raised eyebrows, has also yet to be started.
“However, our programme to distribute Quran has been conducted since last year.
“We distribute copies of the Quran to any member of the public who is interested to seek further information and we do not compel anyone to accept our holy book, nor do we exercise any element of force in the distribution effort.
“This is evident from recordings of our street preaching activities which can be viewed on YouTube, for instance the video entitled ‘Shahadah-March 2014 Street Dawah by MRM’ which clearly shows no element of compulsion,” he added.
Wong said that he is, however, viewing the threats as an isolated case, adding that those who had made such threats are doing so out of ignorance.
“We look at this as an isolated case. If you look at our Facebook page comments, there are many curses and threats to us, with some even praying that our family and MRM members die.
“However, we are confident that they are saying such things because they don’t understand and have no intention of harming us. In Islam, we are taught to forgive, despite their ignorance.”
Wong said that MRM was also faced with a “very serious threat” comprising of various curses and foul words recently, but that the group would be discussing the matter with their lawyers first before deciding whether to lodge another police report or not.
He added that there have not been any physical threats made.
“We at MRM call upon and welcome anyone to come here to MRM, though they threaten us, to come here and discuss with us.”
Wong said that despite being an evangelical group, MRM also has many holy texts of other faiths on their premises, which the members read and have never felt threatened by them at all.
He said that it was also not justified for some to spread negative rumours on MRM simply because of the actions of several groups representing Islam who portray Islam in an extreme and repressive manner.
“Extremists are everywhere, but the issue here is that, though groups representing Islam might react in such manner, it is no justification for rumours and causing chaos in the country.
“Some prefer to simply stay behind their keyboards and become keyboard warriors instead,” he lamented.
Original Source : Malay Mail