Sister Rita Chew, president of the Educational Commission of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, denounces episodes of forced conversions in elementary schools: "Some parents have found that their children are being taught Islamic prayers." The government denies this, but "we know that they want to decrease the number of Christians where there are so many."
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Catholic school pupils are being pressured to convert to Islam, according to Sister Rita Chew, president of the Educational Commission of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu (Sabah Region, East Malaysia). The religious denounces an increasingly aggressive presence of Muslims in schools run by the Church: "Some people seem very interested in bringing forward Muslims programs in our elementary schools. "
Local sources said that Islamic proselytism activities take place in all schools of the country, with the exception of private schools, and do not even spare Catholic institutions. Several episodes also show a widespread prejudice against non-Muslim students. "Our fear - continues Sister Chew - comes from the fact that conversions take place, but the government denies this fact. Some Christian parents have found that their children are taught Islamic prayers. "
According to the religious, these proselytizing activities are aimed at a "recovery" of the Islamic regions of Sabah and Sarawak, where Christians account for a good percentage of the population and where there are the most Catholic schools. Of the 448 Christian and missionary institutions in Malaysia, 130 are in Sarawak and 98 in Sabah.
Catholic schools, however, are greatly respected in Malaysia. A retired teacher, interviewed by UCAN, states that Muslim parents often choose schools run by the Church for their children, as they are considered centers of excellence when compared to those state: "In those - says the man , who wants to remain anonymous - the only focus is on exams and results, it is not an open and well-rounded education, which is what parents want for their children".