Friday, October 26, 2007

Muslim group attends Catholic Mass in Malaysian "breakthrough"

Muslim group attends Catholic Mass in Malaysian "breakthrough"
Christians and Muslims commonly believe that Muslims are forbidden even to enter a church. Led by Shah Kirit Kakakul Govindji of the Islamic Information and Services Foundation, the Muslim visitors initiated the visit themselves. Shah Kirit explained that the purpose of the visit was to discover similarities and common traditions shared by Muslims and Christians, and to respectfully "agree to disagree" on differences.

Archbishop John Ha Tiong Hock of Kuching supported the visit.


Mattheus Mei said...

absolutely fantastic initiative by a group of Muslims... although I have to wonder, were these Sunni, Shi'a, or - most likely - Suffi Muslims?

Gashwin said...

Sufis? Sufis rarely exist as separate ethnic blocs, I think. I could be wrong. It's more like a path or spirituality within one of the other branches of Islam. I'd guess these were Sunnis, but I don't know.

Mac said...

There are virtually no Shia in Malaysia. Nor Sufis. Malaysian Islam was brought by South Indian Muslims; it differs significantly from the Islam of the north of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, although as in Singapore there are numerous Bangladeshi menial labourers working there on temporary work visas.

Given (1) the increasingly conservative religiously and assertive politically nature of Islam in Malaysia and (2) the significant (and increasing) statutory limitations on the practice of religions other than Islam by the 40-odd percent (official statistics conflict) of Malaysians who are Buddhist, Christian and Hindu) it is an interesting overture. One wonders what official reaction has been.

Mac said...

(Of course "Indian" -- ie Tamil -- Muslims in Malaysia labour under the same constitutionally entrenched and non-justiciable legal handicaps as do other non-bumiputra Malaysians vis-a-vis the bumiputras (ie Malays plus aboriginals), so it's a bit of an irony that Islam with its doctrinal insistence that the entire ulama are one people is an important means of expression of Malay xenophobia.

Mac said...

(Malaysian jurists make a bit of a hoo-haw over the fact that the Malaysian Constitution is "autochthonous" -- ie "aboriginal": it was enacted within Malaysia itself rather than as an Act of the imperial parliament in Westminster. So, big deal: Canada, Australia and New Zealand are less sovereign than Malaysia? My guess is that it wouldn't have got through the British parliament with its entrenched racial discrimination and provision that that is, as I say, non-justiciable.)