SELANGOR, Malaysia (ChurchMilitant.com) - A malicious book accusing Christians of a grand conspiracy to undermine Islam has gone viral in Malaysia, even as fresh allegations are being brought against Kuala Lumpur's archbishop for spewing anti-Muslim propaganda.
The Islamic book, Pendedahan Agenda Kristian (Exposing the Christian Agenda), labels the "Nasrani" (Christians) as "enemies of Islam who are always malicious and display a negative attitude towards Muslims," and who "will try their best to cause heartache among Muslims."
Church Militant obtained a copy of the 130-page book from the official portal of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (SIRC), which has a gov.my internet address — linking it to the government of Malaysia.
First published in hardback in 2014 and now made available in digital format in the Malay language, the publication accuses Catholics and evangelicals of adopting missionary schools and "contextualization" as a conversion strategy, especially by using the term "Allah" in the Malay-language Bible.
Ironically, the accusations come in the light of Pope Francis' categorical rejection of efforts to convert people of other religions and in the wake of the pontiff's Abu Dhabi Catholic-Muslim concordat with Sunni Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb in 2019.
Unlike evangelicals, who use "contextualization" to evangelize and convert, liberal Catholics have adopted "contextualization" not with a view to bring lost souls to Catholicism, but as a vehicle of an "incarnational lifestyle" aimed at the creation of "indigenous" churches.
Speaking to Church Militant, renowned Islamic scholar Robert Spencer explained how "the hostility the Muslim book mandates is clearly Qur'an-based."
Spencer, author of over 21 books on Islam and the Middle East, commented:
The book says this: "Christians will try their best to create resentment among the Muslims. Muslims must be stern and careful of Christians, and we must not follow or regard them as our protectors, leaders or guardians. If we are oblivious or doubtful of the truth about Islam, then it will be easier to be influenced by the lies of the Christians."
In saying this, it is no outlier and is not "extremist." The Qur'an says: "And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion" (2:120). It also tells Muslims, "O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you — then indeed, he is of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people" (5:51).
Spencer noted that this is why Christians were facing "increasing discrimination and harassment" as "Malaysia, like other areas in the Islamic world, becomes more devout and Sharia-adherent."
"It also gives the lie to Pope Francis' fond hopes that his 'interfaith dialogue' will lead to harmony and peace between Muslims and Christians," Spencer said, noting the failure of the Abu Dhabi document. "For many Muslims, if not most, no 'dialogue' will ever override or cancel Qur'anic imperatives."
Meanwhile, an Islamic social media campaign is targeting Kuala Lumpur archbishop Julian Leow accusing the prelate of insulting Muslims in a speech during his 2014 visit to St. Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya.
Last week, Hud Hud Crew published a four-minute video with the hashtag #RebusUmatIslam (#BoiltheMuslims) claiming Leow said he wanted to "boil the Muslims slowly like frogs." The video went viral, sparking outrage from Malay Muslims who called for Leow's execution. Church Militant obtained a transcript of the archbishop's talk, which shows his words have been deliberately taken out of context.
In his speech addressing the issue of minority rights, including Shia Muslims who face discrimination in the Sunni-dominant country, Leow said:
We need to stand up for our rights, for the rights of our future generation. We know the analogy of the frog in the boiling water, no? Yes, no? For the benefit of those who don't eat frogs, I have to tell you, if you throw a frog into boiling water, it will jump out straight away. But if it's boiled slowly, increasing one degree by one degree, by the time it realizes, it is already half-cooked. So that's what's been happening in our country.
The campaign's video with Leow's name and face, was titled: "The 25-year Christian Project in Malaysia: Boil Muslims Like Boiling Frogs."
The video also alleged that Leow had "admitted" that the use of "Allah" by Christians was part of the 25-year plan. Malaysia banned Christians from using the word "Allah" in 1986 but a court overturned the ban on March 10.
The Catholic newspaper The Herald had earlier appealed against the ban and won in 2009.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (pictured above), head of the Malaysian state of Selangor — where the book Exposing the Christian Agenda was published — has now said Christians will not be allowed to use the word "Allah" in Christian publications or the Bible in his state.
In his three-page statement, Shah insisted that "Allah" is a word sacred to Muslims and can only be used to refer to the Almighty God in the context of Islam.
Earlier, Malaysia's former home minister Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi refused to ban the book Exposing the Christian Agenda, claiming it was "just research."
"The book discusses ways to spread the Christian faith, which Muslims should be aware of. It was not found to have any content that goes against the provisions in the Printing Presses and Publications Act [of] 1984," Hamidi said.
Article 3 of Malaysia's constitution states that "Islam is the religion of the Federation" and Article 160 of the constitution defines ethnic Malays as Muslim.
Muslims are forbidden from converting to another religion except in extremely rare circumstances, although members of other religions can convert to Islam. The government prohibits any form of evangelistic outreach to Muslims, although it permits evangelism to non-Muslims.