Monday, October 02, 2006


Last Friday 22nd September 2006 as I was driving along Jalan Air Molek, Johor Bahru, I saw a banner on the fence of the old Johor Bahru prison. It was a call to Muslims to protest against “pope yang biadab” (yes those were the exact words).

While I sincerely belief that the quote was offensive, I was most relieved when the Pope with all humility apologized to all Muslims and made it known that the quote does not reflect his own views. He apologized openly not once but twice.

Thus I find it sad that despite the Pope having expressed his regret and apologized twice, there are still those who reject the apology and instead deem appropriate to continue to make the Pope’s speech an issue. Isn’t apologizing and forgiving an honourable virtue?

Growing up In Kuala Lumpur, I remember one South African preacher Ahmed Deedat who found in Malaysia a captive and receptive audience for his venomous sermons against Christians. He used to return to Malaysia regularly espousing his hatred for Christianity all couched in his bile sermons. I used to wonder how in a multi-religious country, the government could be so indifferent to the sensitivities of the Non Muslims and instead accord him such an honorable privilege.

Naturally we Christians were hurt but we suffered in silence. There was no demonstration or calling him to apologise. One day I heard that he had suffered a stroke but what made me very happy was when I heard that he had also lost his ability to
speak. That was the end of him.

Then who could forget Al-Arqam and its leaders who had some warped ideas for Muslims, Malaysia and Non Muslims. Thank God, Dr Mahathir’s government took them on and arrested the whole lot and incarcerated them under ISA. The main leader upon release was reduced to a drooling mess and unable to speak coherently.

I am an avid reader but alas there are some bookshops in Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur (Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman) which stocks and sells books which disparages Christianity. I used to wonder how these books could be permitted for sale when it is offensive to Christians. You do not see any banner calling for protest. Alas what could the Christians do but to pray that no one buys these books. One such bookshop in Landmark Mall has already closed down.

Perhaps those and particularly PAS who rejected the Pope’s apology and instead called for the “perhimpunan” could also ensure that in future that Christians and Christianity will also not be slandered and books which are offensive to Christians will not be sold in bookshops.

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