Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara is the PKR member of parliament for Segamat, Johor. In his take on the khat controversy, YB Edmund reveals a different perspective, which is that khat has the potential of becoming the conduit of religious conversion from Islam to Christianity.
But first, some background from the Chinese majority opinion. Educationists Dong Zong fear khat will be used as a medium to spread Islam to primary school pupils — see news report tweeted below.
Chinese backlash to this perceived “Islamization” move by the Education Ministry is huge.
Opposition from the community was so strong that “even Lim Kit Siang was heckled by some opportunists during a Hungry Ghost festival [in his own constituency]”, the Segamat MP said in his press statement yesterday.
In a viral video circulating on social media, Kit Siang is seen being shouted at and booed by Chinese at the event. A man is also heard challenging the veteran DAP lawmaker, “Why are you still lying?!”
“Deputy Education Minister, Teo Nie Ching’s attempt to allay concerns by parents also attracted more than 35,000 angry comments [in her Facebook]”, the PKR parliamentarian (pix above, second from right) further noted.
Not to mention that incident where an angry Chinese man pelted eggs at the Ipoh service centre of DAP Menglembu assemblyman Chaw Kam Foon.
If Chinese parents are so fearful of Islamization, should Malay parents be afraid of Christianization on the flip side of the coin?
Imagine Malay unwittingly hanging khat Bible verse in home
“Within the Christian community, there are also two opposing views regarding the learning of khat,” YB Edmund Santhara explained.
“On one hand, some, including the larger non-Muslim community, are concerned that learning khat could lead to the conversion to Islam in schools. This view is expressed against the backdrop of Dr Maszlee’s statement in December about making schools in East Malaysia ‘medan dakwah’.”
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YB Edmund Santhara added that moreover “for too long the Malays have embraced Arab culture as Islamic“.
Meaning, it’s become reflexive for Malays to assume that anything Arabic calligraphy, i.e. khat, is automatically Islamic. Indeed khat is usually, if not always, featuring Quranic verses or Hadith.
‘Christian religious materials in Jawi’ — read HERE
Using khat to communicate Christian message to M’sian Muslims
But against the above valid concern of some non-Muslim parents regarding Maszlee Malik’s “medan dakwah“, there is another and opposite view on the arena of missionary work, said the PKR Johor MP.
YB Edmund said “others also argue that khat, whether Arabic or Jawi, is a form of calligraphy that can also be used to communicate the Christian message to at least one billion Muslims”.
“A quick search on the Internet shows that there are many Arabic Bible verses in beautiful khat,” he concluded.
This blogger’s observation: If khat is to be popularized among young Malaysians of all faiths, what’s to stop the Jerusubang evangelistas from jumping on the bandwagon and distributing Bible verses in beautiful khat? Stealth proselytization can go in either direction.