Why aren’t there complaints against local speakers like Ustaz Farid Ravi Abdullah, who conduct comparative religion talks on television, or even against ulama like Ustaz Don Daniyal and Azhar Idrus?
Why then is there only a problem with a certain controversial foreign comparative religion speaker ?
It is time for silent Muslims in Malaysia to voice their views rather than allow society to hear only from those not acquainted with other religions, and also a certain non-governmental organisation, which claims that the foreign speaker is a victim of slander and false accusations.
First of all, this is not a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims. It is best we keep our emotions aside and take a step back to look at the whole matter and decide what is best for our multiracial society.
There have been articles in the media written by a writer who stated that the foreign speaker is an accomplished scholar, whose expertise is in comparative religion study and conducts his debates according to facts.
One must be cautious not to form an opinion when you only have a few facts.
In some parts of the world, incorrect statements about Islam and Muslims are made continuously.
They associate Islam with terrorism and demonise Muslims. We know it is wrong and try to correct it by giving the accurate picture of Islam.
Similarly, for non-Muslims, when incorrect statements are made about their religions, they, too, have the same urge like Muslims to correct it.
The root cause of anger against the foreign speaker is not because he is a Muslim, but the inaccuracies, misinterpretations and misquoting of religious texts that are conveyed.
However, many do not see the problem and this is probably due to the fact that the foreign speaker can talk and debate in fluent English, and comment on the teachings and principles of these religions which many here are ignorant of.
If you are unacquainted with the correct facts of other religions, you will remain ignorant of the inaccuracies conveyed, but inspired by the showmanship.
In the interest of society, we must seriously enquire why the foreign speaker was banned in certain countries, especially by a Muslim country where mainstream Islamic scholars had demanded the broadcasting of his lectures and debates be banned.
In 2010, a prominent Muslim organisation had strongly objected to the presence of the foreign speaker that ultimately led to his denial of entry to that country. Have we missed something here?
Ariff Shah R.K.
George Town, Penang