Thursday, January 23, 2014

Baru: Enticing people to convert not healthy

Posted on January 22, 2014, Wednesday

KUCHING: Religious conversion should be made based on the person’s conviction and belief in the religion and not by forcing or enticing people to convert.

State PKR chairman Baru Bian in giving this view said: “I have no qualm when a person converts to another religion because of his conviction and belief in the religion. That is what we call freedom of religion.

“Freedom of religion includes rights to propagate and rights to share. You will have a problem when there is a ‘carrot’ dangling in front of the would-be converts,” he told reporters here yesterday.

Baru said this when asked to comment on a news report on the works of Pusat Dakwah Serantau (PDS), a non-governmental organisation based in Selangor, in propagating Islam at longhouses in Pakan.

“If it is done because you gave them something, pay them or offer them special treatment or financial provision to them, that should not be the case because you’re enticing them to convert. That is not what I would support because it is very unhealthy.”

On possible action that could be taken on those who enticing people to convert, Baru said he would leave it to the authorities to take action if there were indeed force, undue influence or promise being made to entice those people to convert.

“There are many issues that should be considered. In particular, there is a provision in the law on ‘menghina’ (insulting) a religion or trying to bring down certain religion.

“Otherwise, to force or pressure people to convert out of one’s religion is not healthy and should not be persued.”

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman had said last Friday that the State Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) did not sanction the works of PDS.

He called on those who knew about their activities in the state to either report the matter to the police or Jais for appropriate action to be taken against them (PDS).

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