Chinese Muslims Want Malaysia Mosques
Malaysian Muslims of Chinese origin want mosques to conduct sermons in their mother tongue.
Chinese Malaysian scholars are calling for more mosques to conduct religious sermons in the Chinese language to meet the needs of Muslim worshippers of Chinese origin, reported The Star on Friday, April 25.
"Currently, we go to mosques that conduct sermons and prayers in Bahasa Malaysia," said Fadzli Cheah Abdullah, the head of the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MACMA) branch in Ipoh in the state of Perak.
"Although the prayers are similar, some in our community do not understand languages other than their mother tongue."
Some 200 MACMA members were to kick off a three-day event on Friday to discuss the issue among other topics.
"Various lectures, workshops and a forum will be held," said Fadzli.
There are about 57,000 Chinese Muslims in Malaysia.
Muslim Malays make up nearly 60 percent of Malaysia's 26 million people.
Ethnic Chinese and Indians - most of them Buddhists, Hindus and Christians - make up about 35 percent.
Last week, Prime Minster Abdullah Badawi urged imams to use a soft approach to attract young Muslims to mosques, adding that mosques should play a bigger social role.
Fadzli said MACMA is now planning to build a mosque for the Chinese Muslims in the city of Ipoh.
"The previous state government had pledged RM100,000 towards its construction and we will pursue this matter with the new state government."
The ruling National Front coalition lost its two-third majority in the parliament for the first time in its near-unbroken 50-year reign since independence.
The opposition alliance, including the Islamic PAS party, also gained control of an unprecedented five of the country's thirteen states, including the NF industrial heartlands.
Reports said that more than 30 members of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) is planning to defect to join the opposition to enable it form a new government.
"We hear rumors (off the crossover) but no one has come and said we are saying goodbye to BN," said Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, reported Bernama news agency.
The opposition has 82 seats in Parliament while BN has 140 seats.
If 30 or more BN MPs were to cross over to the opposition, the BN will lose the federal government for the first time since the independence 50 years ago.
"We have to deal with urgency," said Najib.
"We have to take everything seriously, we cannot dismiss it as pure fabrication but as I said there is a strong element of political gamesmanship as well."
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