This is not the sort of story that malaysiakini would carry but it needs to be told within the context of the Lina Joy saga. The controversial Muslim-turned-Christian court appeal has been reported in malaysiakini recently.
Because religion is such an emotional issue, the federal court’s ruling has been either praised or condemned, depending on the person’s personal religious affiliations, views, and values.
But the more important issue for Muslims is a story that could be related to it.
I would liken the story I am about to tell to the ‘cane toad debacle’ of Australia.
About 70 years ago, Australian authority decided to import the giant neotropical toad or marine toad, a large terrestrial native to Central and South America, as a pest control against the cane beetle. The adult beetles eat the leaves of sugar cane but greater damage is the done by their larvae hatching underground and eating the roots of the sugar cane.
The toad was supposed to eat up and hopefully control, if not eliminate the cane beetle and its larvae. It became known as the ‘cane toad’.
102 of the cane toads were imported from Hawaii; 70 years later there are 200 millions of them. The toads have frightening appetites and are considered as a significant pest now, destroying many native animals. They are so poisonous that nothing can kill them. And their high reproductivity has been a terrifying reality for Australians.
So, an imported item to control pests has become a pest itself.
Some years ago, or more accurately many years ago, there was a rumour that the Chinese in Malaysia had become the majority ethnic group - perhaps a function of their reproductive capacity in this bountiful land.
Apparently the true demographic statistics were never released. The story told of the strategy to encourage mass illegal immigrants from Indonesia (by at least 1 million) to restore the ethnic ratio to its original split.
I am not sure whether the (closed one eye to) illegal migrants in Sabah were part of that strategy, or an independent initiative by a certain former chief minister to enhance his personal powers.
Like the cane toad the migrants were ‘imported’ to control an undesirable imbalance which could (frighteningly for those in power then) tipped the balance of political power.
And also like the cane toad, the control element became a new problem, for crime and the Christian religion came along with them – mind you, not that these two imported elements are inter-related. See my previous posting Malaysian Muslims under siege?
It would be virtually impossible for Indians, Chinese or the white men to penetrate the local Muslim community and convert the Malays into Christians. But a Christian ‘Malay’ would be a different kettle of fish.
An Indonesian could and would easily become a Malaysian Malay – and there were rumours that many were in possession of the correct IC within days of entry into our country. And we know that some Indonesians are Christians.
They also would marry into the local community. I was informed that such an example was the marriage of a well-known Malay actress/singer (resident of or in Singapore) to an Indon actor who was a Christian. The actress was threatened with violence (acid would be thrown into her face, etc) until the husband decided to convert to mollify the opposition and thus protect her.
Voila, the local Muslim community faced and faces a humongous problem where none existed before.
Of course I can’t say that Lina Joy was converted by a once-Indon-now-Malay Christian. But there would be some such cases.
Like the cane toad, how does one eliminate or control the solution-turned-problem? Indeed a poisonous, indestructive and highly reproductive one too!
Well, in Australia, a scientist found out that the only possible solution would be to take advantage of the cane toad’s cannibalistic behavior. The toad eats up its young by the dozens. But even then, that proposed (and futuristic) solution would only halt the spread and increase of the toad population.
Try translating that cannabalistic solution ridiculously to the local 'cane toad phenomena', and we can see the ever growing problem for the Muslim community.