Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Sabahan Bishop Lashes Out

A Sabahan bishop launched a scathing attack on Christian political leaders who kept stoic silence even when confronted with “extremist elements of political Islam” who were targeting hardcore poor Sabahans for the purpose of carrying out dubious conversions.

Although Catholic Bishop Cornelius Piong (left) did not name the ministers, Sabah Christian ministers are Maximus Ongkili, Joseph Kurup and Ewon Ebin; while Christian ministers from Sarawak are Douglas Uggah Embas, Idris Jala, Joseph Entulu Anak Belaun and Richard Riot anak Jaem.  This group of political eunuchs have betrayed Sabahans (and Sarawakians).

He drew on history to explain this strange phenomenon of passive indifference – he said it was similar to when the then chief minister Mustapha Harun announced his unity policy of “one language, one culture, one religion” on August 01, 1972. 

Pressing further, the bishop said Christian leaders had kept mum when Mustapha in September the following year amended the state constitution to make Islam the state religion – which he said was in violation of the 20-point agreement that Sabah had insisted on before consenting to join Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore to form Malaysia. 

He continued: “We only agreed to Islam being the religion of the federation and not Sabah and that Malaysia is to be a secular country.” 

Piong, a Kadazan tersely warned Christians: “The enemy is not only at our door, it has even entered into our midst." 

Piong, however, made it clear that the “enemy” was not a reference "to our Muslim brothers and sisters who we have been living side by side in good neighbourliness for generations”. He was referring to peninsular-based Islamic missionaries who have been accused of being behind some of the questionable conversions in the state. 

On New Year's day, about 64 people including children from three remote villages in Pitas in northern Sabah, were allegedly converted through deception and inducement. A month later, another round of conversions had apparently taken place, according to the Muslim missionary website, The Kembara Syahadah – this time involving at least 302 villagers from Pensiangan, another far-flung corner of the state. 

The bishop raised the mamangkis cry to rally his people to defend themselves against the encroachment of their Christian faith. [The mamangkis is an old Kadazan Dusun Murut war cry used by their pagan ancestors to rally warrior troops for battle. Now it has been adopted as a Christian clarion call for revival]. 

Spearheaded by Perpaduan Anak Negeri (PAN) Sabah, or the Native Solidarity of Sabah, which is less than four months old – there have been three such gatherings to date – the inaugural gathering in Penampang immediately after last Christmas, in Ranau last month and February 22, 2014 in Nabawan. 

Piong said the mamangkis was “to face the challenges confronting the church brought about by the extremism of political Islam” and was not to incite disaffection against the government nor against Islam. 

“The mamangkis is part of our cultural heritage, our identity as the definitive people of Sabah,” Piong added. 

I just came across the above Dilbert cartoons and I immediately began to think of my DIBA students. They are busy putting the finishing touches to their DMK1013 coursework, i.e. Business Plans and 2-minute promotional videos of products or businesses they intend to introduce into the market. 

This is the seventh and last week of a hectic teaching semester and my DIBA students are rushing to submit their projects. I am really looking forward to examine their output and which I am more than hopeful they will do well. If indeed I am right, then I would have done a good job!

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