Dear brothers and sisters,
I came across this incident reported by Joachim Francis Xavier in an online group to which I am subscribed complaining about the actions of two Al Islam Magazine Malay Muslim journalists who had infiltrated the Catholic Church recently to investigate the authenticity of news that there are many young Malays who have apostatized from Islam and attending church services at a church near the Puduraya Terminal, here in Kuala Lumpur.
Mr.Joachim protests against this infiltration into the church by the two Muslim journalists and feels grossly insulted by their actions where the two Muslims had taken part in the Christian prayer rituals and even taken mass communion by swallowing the wafer offered by the priests which they then had spat out and taken photos which are published along with their expose in the Al Islam Magazine's May 2009 edition which I have attached in this article.
Mr Joachim and another Malaysian Christian Mr.Sughadaran Stanley have lodged a police report attached herewith in this article as well against this blatant intrusion and spying act of those two Muslim journalists which they consider as a gross act of insult against their church and Christian faith!
As a Malaysian Muslim blogger, I try my level best to see things from a balanced and fair point of view and I believe that what the two investigative journalists from Al Islam Magazine have done is wrong and they ought to issue an apology to the Christian community concerned.
If we are to look at this matter from the Islamic perspective, there are some pros and cons with regard to the matter of knowing what the 'enemy' is up to and yet we need to also be righteous in our handling of matters such as apostasy and why such cases arise in the first place whereby the Muslims or those who are supposed to be in authority over the Muslims affairs have neglected to nurture and oversee the Muslim ummah in general leading to such straying of some members of the flock so to speak?
I understand that maybe those Al Islam Magazines's journalists thought that they had no other options but to go undercover in order to discover whether there is any truth with regard to the reports and rumours going around that there is a clandestine operation by the Christian Church here in Malaysia to apostatize the weak faithed amongst the Malay Muslims of Malaysia into becoming Christians?
I wonder also if the journalists concerned would have received permission from the church to investigate or do a proper study as to the accusations against the Christian Church that they are involved in such an agenda against the Muslims of this nation?
Yet this undercover operation by the two concerned journalists gives concern as to where we should draw the line as far as getting stories to publish in the newspapers, magazines and online web portals , socio-political-religious blogs or web forums are concerned?
I have asked some prominent Muslims here amongst the Malaysian Ummah about this matter and this is what they have to say about it?
The President of the Malaysian Scholar Association or Persatuan Ulama Malaysia, the learned Dato’ Sheikh Hj. Abdul Halim bin Abd Kadir who was the Terengganu State Mufti states that it is allowed in Islam for Muslims to use methods and ways to find out the truth about the matters said to involve the Muslims ( the reported apostasies of young Malays ) as long as they do so based upon looking after the safety and sanctity of the Muslim ummah and the faith of Islam.
When asked about the two Malay journalists who had participated in the Christian prayer rituals and had even taken the wafer offered by the priests, Dato Sheikh Hj. Abdul Halim pointed out that as long as their intention was to investigate the truth of the matter regarding the said apostasy of their fellow Malays into Christianity, they had not themselves apostatized from Islam and that their taking of the wafer was not a problem provided it did not contain anything that was haram @ forbidden in Islam.
So to conclude the discussion I had today with Dato Sheikh Hj. Abdul Halim, those two Malay journalists had done no harm to their 'Aqeedah' in the course of their duty as investigative journalists and had done so as allowed by the principles of our Islamic faith.
I thanked Dato Sheikh Hj Abdul Halim for his views and am grateful for his clarity in opinion about this matter.
I had also spoken to the President of ABIM, Tuan Hj. Yusri Mohamad who is also a close friend of mine and asked him as to what he has to say about this matter?
Brother Yusri opinionates that as far as he is concerned, there is no need for us to go to such lengths in investigating such unfounded rumours and thinks that it's wrong to do so under grounds that such a precedent could lead to other instances and maybe spark off something else which we might all not wish to see take place in our nation.
I have also spoken to another close friend of mine, learned Lawyer Tuan Haji Zainul Rijal bin Abu Bakar, the former President of the Malaysian Syarie Lawyers Association who also does not agree with such an action by the two Al Islam Magazine's investigative journalists. He too does not support the undercover efforts of the journalists concerned.
I did my own research into the validity of the actions of the two Al Islam investigative journalists in this case and I find the following hadith relevant to their undercover operation in finding out whether there is some truth to the rumour of Malays here in Malaysia apostatizing from Islam?
In Sahih Bukhari & Muslim, the Book of Jihad, Page 592, Chapter 23, Hadith # 1233 :
Now, the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam, being the brilliant genius Commander in Chief of the Mukmins had asked as to who will bring him information about the enemy?
The enemy of Islam and the Muslims were those who weren't Muslims. Same situation today.
The reports of Malays committing apostasy rumored and spread about through the media surely raises concern amongst the ones who are looking out for the welfare and well being of the Malaysian Muslim ummah.
Al Islam, being a magazine that publishes articles concerning Islam decided to take up the act of reconnoitering the said reports and had sent in their investigative journalists to find out the truth of the matter?
Yes, those two did masquerade as Christians and took part in the Christian rituals and partook the wafer given by the priest.
In their report, they said that they discovered no true Malay Muslims who had apostatized as rumored.
They said that they found out that the Christians were mostly Filipinos, Indonesians, Sabahans and Sarawakians who were born Christians. They had some confusions about the ethnicity of those Christians because being people from this region, naturally most of them look like Malays.
The journalists wrote that they found the congregation to be warm and friendly. Well mannered and pleasant. That's a compliment to the Christians.
Yes, they did come across publications in Malay containing the term 'Allah' and that the songs being sung in prayer had 'Allah' in the lyrics.
They conclude in their article that the usage of such a word as 'Allah' in the Christian publications and prayer rituals can lead to some confusion amongst the Malays who might mistake such publications to be connected with Islam and cause problems for those with weak Aqeedah or just learning about the true faith of Al Islam.
They stand by the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affair's ruling not to allow the Christians usage of the word 'Allah' and all other references which are Islamic in nature in the Christian prayers and rituals here in Malaysia.
That said and done, I still believe that it's appropriate for the two journalists and the Al Islam Magazine editorial to apologize to the said Christian Church here that they meant no harm and were only carrying out their jobs as ordered.
To clear the matter once and for all and to put to rest the allegations that the Christians have had anything to do with such evangelism amongst the Malaysian Malay Muslim population.
I do know that there are cases where such evangelism did and do happen yet due to the utter sensitivity of the matter which can lead to further religious friction and unrest between Muslims and Disbelievers, I try my level best not to dwell on them unless the need arises.
I recall an incident lately concerning two Buddhist monks who were photographed praying together with Malay Muslims in a masjid in Kedah recently that was emailed to me by a Bukit Aman police officer asking me as to what I have to say about that?
I told him that if the two monks were still Buddhists and had not embraced the Islamic faith at the moment they were praying with the Muslims, then the ones who were their hosts that day in the masjid were answerable to Allah as to why they had allowed such a thing to take place?
If on the other hand, the two Buddhists monks had truly embraced Islam and were now Muslims, it is incumbent upon the ones who had initiated the conversion or reversion of those two servants of Allah into Al Islam to have given them an initiation rite into becoming Muslims by teaching them about the purification rituals in our faith and to have them take a bath and given them new clothes which do not have any relation to their 'former Buddhist beliefs'.
They should have been taught as to how to take the purification bath and other pleminaries into becoming and being Muslims worth our name and faith.
As I did not receive further details about that incident, I wouldn't speculate any further for fear of being slanderous against the monks concerned or those who had received them at the masjid and allowed them to join the Muslims in the congregational prayer!
I guess not many Christians know that even their Pope had joined the Turkish Muslims in prayer when he visited the country recently?
As Muslims, we are taught to exercise the best of behavior when receiving guests in our masjids and treat our visitors with the respect and decorum that they deserve. Especially those who come and visit our masjids with the pure intention of wanting to know us and Islam better.
I am all in support for such well meaning interactions between us and the yet to be Muslims.
Concluding this article touching upon the subject of the two investigative Al Islam Magazine journalists, I would like to call upon all concerned to take into consideration the sensitivity of all our fellow Malaysians when going about our affairs and to forgive and forget any such acts that could lead to or spark off anything that we will all regret.
I am publishing what Brother Joachim Francis Xavier had emailed to me following our telephone conversation over this matter here.
Hello Zainul Abidin,
Please find attached the scanned copy of the articles and the police report. Any help to prevent this from reoccuring would be appreciated as we all have to work togehter to ensure that all communities live in total respect and care for each other.
Joachim Francis Xavier
8th July 2009
Muslim Men Spying in Catholic Churches
We are deeply concerned that two Muslim men acting on false information that the Catholic Church was converting Muslims into Christians had recently entered a Catholic Church service for the purpose of gathering information as to whether this was occurring.?
They were also investigating whether the word 'Allah' was being used in church services.
These men participated in the church service and even took part in the rituals that are strictly for Catholics and in doing so violated the sanctity of what Catholics hold very sacred.
These men later wrote about their experience in an article entitled "Tinjaun Al Islam Dalam Gereja:Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad" which was published in the May 2009 issue or the Al Islam magazine.
The men had consumed the 'communion' which is a white wafer which is blessed by the Priest in a Catholic ritual that dates back 2000 years.
Via this ritual the 'white wafer' is supernaturally transformed into what Catholics believe to be Jesus Christ and when consumed allows Catholics to experience life after death.
The 'communion' is held with great reverence and cannot in any way be mishandled or with a lack of respect.
Even Catholics are not allowed to take home the 'communion' but are instructed to consume it immediately during the service. Catholics go through an elaborate process of preparing themselves to receive this 'communion' worthily and those who have not done so are advised to refrain from receiving it.
As such we are outraged that these Muslim men consumed it only to spit it out later, have it photographed and have its image published in the Al-Islam magazine.
The total disrespect shown to what Catholics hold in closest to their hearts and believe to be most Holy strikes deep into our hearts and invokes much anger.
While we are resolved not to allow anger to guide our actions and instead pray that these ignorant will be forgiven by the Allah, we want to know what has become of this most holy 'communion' and demand its immediate return to the church authorities.
We are further outraged that these Muslim men have violated our sense of privacy to freely worship.
Would these men tolerate non-Muslims entering the mosque and violating the sanctity and holiness of their worship?
We believe that all places of worship and the form of worship practiced in these places must be respected with the greatest sensitivity and reverence be they the church, mosque, temple or gurdwaras.
Entering these premises with the intention to spy and worse to violate the sanctity of the worship only serves to incite anger and hatred that could lead to potentially dangerous consequences that would tear this country apart.
As such, as concerned Catholics, we have made a police report at the Patani Road Police station on 8th July 2009 and thereafter held a press conference at the same place.
We requested that the police investigate this matter with great urgency and bring to books those responsible for acting to incite hate and resentment among the Catholic Community.
We also call on the police to investigate both the Al-Islam magazine and the writers of the article.
Joachim Francis Xavier & Sudhagaran Stanley
Tel: 016 4100264/ 016 4455678
attached: the Al-Islam articles, Police Report.