Rebas VII

Last week I had the opportunity to attend of the ubiquitous after maghrib kuliahs in one of the suraus in Wangsa Maju area. The ustaz, one Hasrizal Jamil, related an incident that set me thinking – why are so sensitive and violently reactionary to the non-muslims. Let me explain further, this Ustaz was involved in a programme regarding understanding and exploring various religious faiths in this country. Being the facilitator, he has to make arrangements to bring a group of about 50 youths from all over the world to visit various religious holy places in the country. He made arrangement to visit a hindu temple, a buddha tokong, a church, and of course a mosque. Part of the visit included dialog sessions with the religious authorities at the respective holy places to gain a better understanding of the various faiths. Appointments were made with all the places well in advance. To cut the story short, the visit was very successful, friendly, and informative except at the mosque. At the mosque (a famous mosque too), the imam has gone home, the guards did not allow the non muslim to enter and they were very harsh to the visitors. A total contrast to the reception given by the temple, tokong and the church. This happened despite this ustaz was pleading with the guards that he has made the arrangements through the proper channels. The group was very disappointed, more so the ustaz because, his dignity and Islam’s claim to be a friendly and universal religion failed to live up to the expectations. After much argument they were allowed to enter and shown a-10 minute video clip on the history and construction of the mosque! (typical corporate video so to speak). They was no dialog session with the imams since they have gone home.
The ustaz said, the point he was trying to make is, there is no decree in Islam that forbid that non-muslim from entering a mosque as long as they follow the rules,and even if they are barred, they should be advised politely, to reflect the very nature of Islam itself. Maybe (and I really hope so) this was an isolated incident. But from the various conversation that I had with a few others, this incident was quite common. How are we going to attract people to Islam if we keep failing to demonstrate in real life what Islam is all about?

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