KUALA LUMPUR — An interfaith group today accused a project to distribute one million copies of the Quran of being a concerted effort to persuade non-Muslims to abandon their faith, and urged non-Muslims not to accept the translation of the Islamic holy text.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) also dismissed the project’s purported objective to remove misconceptions of Islam, and labelled it a disguised propagation of Islam and in “bad faith”.
“MCCBCHST is of the view that the intended distribution of the translated copies of the Quran to non-Muslims is obnoxious as a similar right is not given to non-Muslims,” the group said in a statement.
The group further said the Quran should not be distributed so freely as the copies might be disrespected, and some Muslims might find it blasphemous to see non-Muslims owning those translated copies of Quran.
“MCCBCHST therefore, advise Non-Muslims not to accept the translated copies of the Quran. The Non-Muslims have every right to protect their religion and to alert their children and members of their family of the advances made by Islamic Information and Services Foundation,” it said.
It also warned Muslims that propagation of religion by inducements or other pretexts may amount to an offence under Section 298A of the Penal Code.
On January 9, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reportedly launched a project called “One Soul, One Quran”, organised by the Islamic Information and Services Foundation.
Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying that the one million copies of translations in Tamil, Chinese, English and Malay languages will be for public distribution, in order to combat allegedly misleading interpretations of Islam as a “cruel religion”.
MCCBCHST slammed the reasoning given by Dr Mahathir as nonsensical and misdirected, as non-Muslims have not carried out any acts of terrorism in the name of Islam and, therefore, are not confused.
“It is Muslims who are indulging in killing and condemnation of other religions and religionist. Therefore, the need is for Muslims to be educated on the true teachings of Islam and not the non-Muslims,” said the group.
The group also listed down several instances of efforts to convert non-Muslims, including the involvements of evangelical groups such as Hidayah Centre Foundation (HCF) and Multiracial Reverted Muslims (MRM), and federal and state religious authorities.
Racial and religious tensions have simmered for the past few years as Muslim groups accuse Christians of trying to convert Muslims with their insistence on referring to God as “Allah”, while Christian groups complain of Bumiputera Christians in Sabah being duped into embracing Islam.
Proselytisation of non-Islamic religions to Muslims is an offence in Malaysia, but not vice versa.