omnibus omnia

Of Malaysian Christians; and the nature of persecution (revised)

In Catholicism, Christianity, Civil Liberties, Democracy, Government, Human Rights, Islam, Law, Malaysia, Politics, Protestantism, Religion on August 18, 2008 at 13:45

According to a reader, not only Catholics but also Protestants are suffering restrictions in Malaysia…

A short time ago I wrote a post entitled Catholic newspapers embattled in Malaysia, proposing reasons for the Malaysian government’s apparent persecution of newspapers associated with the one true Church. I said there that the policy was probably either a lashing out by an increasingly paranoid government against a vulnerable target, or an ill-thought attempt to curry favor with strict Muslims, in which case it will likely backfire due to the distinct nature of Southeast Asian Islam.

Afterwards, a reader named Valerie commented that not only authentic Christians but also Protestants are suffering restrictions imposed by the government. Because of its import, I reproduce her comment in full, thus:

Dear sir,

It is not only the catholic church that has problems in Malaysia, Recently a shipment of religious books (in Bahasa Melayu) to a [Protestant] Christian church int he east Malaysia too was confiscated due to the Word Allah which the Malaysian authorities deem only for the MUSLIM God. They think in term of My God nad Your God but they forget their religion the same as Christianity belies there is Only One God!

Recently the Forum on Conversion to Islam organized by the Bar Council of Malaysia to talk about the issues when one member of the family converts to Islam and how it affects the lives of the whole family members was abruptly cut short due to Demonstrations and storming of the forum.

I know though not all Malays Muslims feel the way the hooligans acted during the demonstration yet it is so very sad to know that you are the minority and even though in your constitution it states the freedom to worship and the freedom of speech but it is not upheld due the conflicting law on sensitive issues and the stated official religion of Islam of this Country.

read more here
and here
both sites are by Muslim men in Malaysia

I note that my earlier post was founded on the idea that we shouldn’t exaggerate the apparent arbitrariness of the Malaysian government, or the extent to which Islamic rigorism informs its policies. However, Valerie’s comment provides a sobering corrective to my own optimism and hence merits serious consideration, in view of the spate of news reports on the increasing restriction of minority religions’ rights in Malaysia. To Miss Valerie, again I say, thank you for the correction; but if you wish me to delete my reproduction of your comment, just say the word and I shall comply.

To digress into fundamentals: It must first be conceded that, in a democratic society, the minority qua minority always lives at the sufferance of the majority. For society evolves for the furtherance of social goods, which will necessarily be defined in different ways by groups within it; and when the definitions are irreconcilable, then their encounter becomes a contest of power, whether in elections or in less peaceful encounters, that the most powerful faction will win. In a democracy, where power emanates from numbers, the majority that approves the Constitution and chooses the MPs is the primary possessor of civil power and the final arbiter of positive law.

However, this majoritarian power is limited in 3 ways.  First, some entitlements, like those against arbitrary killing and torture, are Hohfeldian correlatives of absolute natural norms, and can demanded from the majority at any time. Second, such other natural rights as are not absolute, and that must hence be balanced against competing interests like public safety and majoritarian rights, nonetheless cannot be infringed without objectively valid cause.  In such a standard, the natural but relative right of freedom of conscience may be restricted, but not arbitrarily or without reason.

Third, a democratic majority may itself limit its own rights vis-a-vis minorities, by legislating groundrules to govern the conduct of majorities and minorities alike; by setting a standard to determine when there exists good reason to impose restrictictions (e.g., the jurisprudential “clear and present danger”  requirement under American law); or by creating civil liberties that apply to minorities and their members. In such case, if the majority agrees to such groundrules, then it must comply with the same, since the rule against arbitrary government is a natural mandate that no State may infringe.

Politically speaking, therefore, Catholics and Protestants in Muslim countries may in reason demand  for a fair application of the publicly agreed groundrules, which means their rights in law in liberal democratic nations. However, it must be understood that even these rules are only articles of peace, as Fr. John Courtney Murray called them; for the majority can interpret them in a way that accords with the majority’s standards but not with the minority’s; and these rules would bring a mere truce that would moderate but not remove the causes of unrest, which are ultimately sin and error. Therefore, I also hope and pray that one day, all people, including Muslims and Protestants, will receive the grace and truth given by God through Christ in the one true Church and thus become authentic Christians, for this alone will provide the infallible foundation for that salvation and justice without which an authentic peace is impossible.

May God bless us all.

  1. interesting.
    question : do we need God in the first place?
    Yes : to show we are near to him?
    you see,
    malaysia and asian are still living on the banana tree.
    sombong, ego, and they thought they are the best in everything.
    or try to be one.
    not only malaysia maybe,
    all over the world and involved
    badminton, religion, and wealth?

    what really is that, carries the meaning..

    who are we?

    isn’t that what we have is enough?

    will we be granted in heaven after death?

    the more we discussed about this life with religion,
    the more confused we become.

    i propose simply now,
    when we become a republic,
    we forget about the god, the respect of others, and forget about tax etc.

    look back.
    where we come from?

    look forward.
    can we stop internet propaganda?

    look around,
    is there any country by the name of
    republic of Pope John or
    republic of Muhamad?

    my point here is
    if people stop you fromdoing something else,
    there must be a reason.
    Reason to stop from continue this and that.

    its not malaysia alone.
    in japan, shinto is not encouraged publicly.

    whatsup here?

    i am more concerned that your wealth
    is not be shared among the poor.

    writing books and preachers, sermons,
    will not end everything.

    stupid muslim are many, and christians too.
    this is called hipocracies and, conspiracies.

    history were written by the victors,
    re written at intervals.

    so, lets educate them in teh nearest able sources.

    money and


    don’t blame a “government” to be faulted for thsi that.
    each something there must be a reason.

    before i go,

    please accept the fact that

    no other religion is better than the other.

    education not to screw our own mother-gender is the first thing we should educate people.

    what do you think?

  2. thats the first thing we should clean up.

    if we are good,
    any one will follow.
    no need to preach.

    let them discover you.

    even the good ones will be branded as spoilt.

    all this are because of religion and

    woman most.

    allow me to educate my daughter first.

    when success, i will ask you to educate your daughter as well.

    the word | be discovered.

  3. but i cannot discover your rice in my platter.

    moslem cannot eat what christian does.
    if you don’t agree, allow me to share with you,
    you won’t allow any man marry your chrtistianed daughter to any moslem for easy.
    this is malaysia, asian.
    we are not london.

    to change their mind you need to change the culture.
    sacrifice our daughter to do that first.
    will you? may be yes maybe no.

    reality is,
    do you have to be present in front of god to tell you are married?
    the world,
    is full of hipocracies

    i better stop here,
    repeating the same thing i mentioned earlier.

    conclusion , many haven’t met God.
    in one self.

  4. […] Protestants also embattled in Malaysia By indignus They think in term of My God nad Your God but they forget their religion the same as Christianity belies there is Only One God! Recently the Forum on Conversion to Islam organized by the Bar Council of Malaysia to talk about the issues … SCRIPTORIUM – […]

  5. […] | user-saved public links | iLinkShare 4 votesProtestants also embattled in Malaysia>> saved by paulocoimbra 1 days ago3 votesAnswering the tough questions:Part 1>> saved by nexusicon […]

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