The mufti of Perlis and those who supported him in calling for separate mosques for our Chinese Muslims must be thinking they are great thinkers and pragmatists.
Well, they are completely wrong. The idea is not only divisive but it can lead to racial polarisation among Malaysia's Muslims who are already divided over other factors. Unlike Indian Muslim mosques or Pakistani mosques which were built by immigrants who came here in the last century, we have never had Muslim Chinese immigrants of the same era or else we would have had their mosques as well.
Instead we have Chinese, Hindu ad Buddhist temples everywhere in addition to churches of various denominations.
We all know that when the Malays changed their religion from Hinduism to Islam in the 13th or 14th century, they willingly changed their names to Islamic names and discarded all their former Hindu rituals (like those still practiced by the Balinese).
Unfortunately, some so-called Muslim Malays have now begun to Christianise or Europeanise their names as well as diluting their Islamic beliefs with new popular cultures which, some of them, are clearly against the teachings of Islam.
I don't wish to reiterate here that Islam is not solely for the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians or anybody on this God's Earth. Anyone can study Islam and become an ulama and then ascend the highest level of Islamic authority unlike some religions where only those of certain colour of skin or class, or caste can become priests.
Putting aside some stupid people and bigots including those in religious departments, the Malays, by and large, have always accepted a non-Malay Islamic scholar as their leader, be it a muezzin or an imam in a kampung mosque, an Islamic teacher or even as a mufti (like Egypt and Saudi-born) muftis in the Malay states in the 19th century. Prominent Ustaz Mohd Ravi Abdullah is a clear example.
The problem is that when a Malaysian Chinese or Indian become a Muslim they still want to retain their 'identity' instead of becoming a member of the Islamic ummah, teaching and helping each other.
In Islam, while you can say your 'doa' in any language, Arab is the 'core' language of Islam because Arab is the language of the Al-Quran. Thus it is the duty of all Muslims and Islamic governments to encourage this.
In so far as the pursuit of knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic banking or Islamic socio-political system, by all means do it in whatever language, just like Islamic scholars who are now going to Oxford and Cambridge, Leiden or Harvard for their Ph Ds.
The problem with converts in Malaysia is that despite living all their life in this country, the Chinese and the Indians have never adopted Bahasa Malaysia as their primary language like those in Thailand, Indonesia, or the Philippines. To them BM is just a tool to past examinations or to get jobs.
This has become worse because English is increasingly undermining BM so much so many Malays themselves have abandoned their own mother tongue.
Since brothers Ridzuan Tee Abdullah and Ustaz Mohd Ravi Abdullah and many others are exception to this rule, the Malays (politics aside) would be more than happy to have them as khatib and imam for Friday prayers.
I am sure this idea of separate mosque for the Chinese Muslims will lead to further divide between the Malays and the Chinese, not to mention national unity. Haven't we seen enough of Beirut where both Fatah and Hamas are Muslims.
Finally, may I ask the Perlis mufti, will he support a similar request by Malaysian-born Indians who have become Muslims or the Malays who have become Shiite Muslims or Ismaili Muslims or Ahmadiya (Qadiani) Muslims.
The more the merrier I suppose. After all, in Malaysia we already have the Catholic hurch, the Methodist church, the Anglican church, the Lutheran church, etc.