Monday, August 30, 2010

The mosque visits controversies

What has Teo Nie Ching and William Leong have in common other than they are MPs and from the Opposition? Their recent visits to a surau and a mosque which was done with good intention but ended up being ostricised by all UMNO linked groups and media. Of course, as usual, Utusan has to take the lead in their daily rabid exercise against anything the Opposition do, twist the facts around and make the latter look bad. This is gutter journalism at its worst. Read here with regard to Teo's case and here William's case.

It was indeed heartening to note that other Muslim leaders stood up to these critics, especially Tok Guru himself. To further counter the UMNO assault, PAS Youth has decided to take UMNO on in a debate to determine the facts whether non-Muslims should be allowed in a surau or mosque, or is this nothing more than a political maneuver. Read here for story. The
former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin also supported the view that it was perfectly alright for a non-Muslim to be seen in a mosque.

Despite all the hullabaloo about her visit to the Al-Huda surau visit in Kajang, last weekend saw her visiting the Al-Muhajirin surau in Bangi.

In truth, was an offence committed by the two MPs? They did not go there to party nor were there uninvited. Both of them were invited guests of the mosque committees and they were there to partake in breaking fast with the Muslims in their constituencies, including handouts to the needies. Let's reflect.

In September 2007, MCA's Ng Yen Yen made a visit to Masjid Sri Damansara to present some token gifts to those going on the haj. She came inside the mosque and gave a short speech, but no Umno leader made any ruckus of it. You can check it up with the mosque on the visit. I bet the mosque still has some photos of the visit. In November 2006, during his three-day visit to Turkey, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii). He became the second pontiff to pray silently in a gesture of reconciliation to the Muslim world. The late John Paul II had visited a mosque in Damascus, during a trip to Syria. Pope Benedict XVI toured the Blue Mosque accompanied by Ali Bardakoglu, the minister of religions affairs. The Grand Mufti of Istanbul, Mustafa Cagri, explained to him the mosque's history and architecture. The sultan of Selangor, as the head of Islam in the state, should invite more foreign dignitaries to visit the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, the Shah Alam mosque, during these foreign dignitaries' visits to Malaysia to see how progressive Malaysia is as a Muslim nation.

Some time in May or June 2008, Khalid Samad visited the Catholic Church in Glenmarie to thank the parishioners for voting him into office. He was welcomed into the church where the mass was being held to a resounding applause. He humbly responded, "I hope I still deserve that five years from now." Mind you, he gave his speech almost close to the altar. I could see the look on Khalid Samad's face to know that he was so warmly welcomed by the Catholic community.

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