Ipoh Sikhs raise alarm on Punjabi Christian event

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Ipoh, Malaysia  | Asia Samachar |13 May 2015

 

Sikhs in Ipoh, the state capital of Perak, had raised an alarm on alleged intensified moves by Punjabi Christians in luring Sikhs, especially from poorer neighbourhoods, to a Christian worship programme.

The trigger came with the widespread invites to Sikh families — through printed cards, WhatsApp messages and by word of mouth — inviting them to the church in Ipoh to celebrate ‘Khusian Da Mela’. The word Vaisakhi was not used in the card which claims that the programme was organised by the Punjabi Fellowship Ipoh (PFI).

In response, a Sikh youth organisation had sent a group of observers to the programme held at the Church of Praise at Perindustrian Ringan Sri Rapat, Ipoh.

“We felt that they had gone overboard with the invites, giving them openly to Sikhs. We just wanted to ensure that if Sikhs did turn up, we can advise them what the programme is all about,” Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (Perak Branch) Jathedar Jaswant Singh told Asia Samachar.

The programme went ahead without any untoward incident, according to several people who were present at the location. The police had also sent its members to observe the function at the church located in a factory area about 8km from the Ipoh town centre.

The 'Khushia Da Mela' at Church of Praise in Ipoh, Perak, on May 9. It attracted criticism from local Sikhs for the alleged targeted invites to Sikh families. - ASIA SAMACHAR PHOTO GRAB FROM EVENT VIDEO
The ‘Khushia Da Mela’ at Church of Praise in Ipoh, Perak, on May 9. It attracted criticism from local Sikhs for the alleged targeted invites to Sikh families. – ASIA SAMACHAR PHOTO GRAB FROM EVENT VIDEO

When contacted, a PFI member denied that the group had targeted Sikhs for the function and also denied that it was to celebrate Vaisakhi, a key event in the Sikh calendar.

“We are also investigating. We want to know who is the person who has been distributing the flyers without our permission,” said Paramjit Kaur, whose name and number appears as a contact person on the invites sent out. She speaks fluent Punjabi.

However, in a separate text message to Asia Samachar from another member of the Christian fellowship, it was alluded that it could have ended in the hands of the Sikhs as their members had extended the invites to their extended family members.

“On our part, they are a few hundred of us. We gave invitations to mother, mother in law, brothers…. It might have tailed very far ahead,” said the sender.

It is understood that the Punjabi Christian group had been organising the event in Ipoh for the last four years.

Conversion out of Sikh faith to Christianity in Ipoh and its surrounding area has gained momentum in the last one year or so, said one senior member of the local Sikh community. “You kept hearing so and so had converted,” he said.

Some of the areas targeted were about an hour’s drive from the Ipoh centre. They included the Sikh Settlement in Tanjung Tualang (42km from Ipoh) and Tronoh Mines (49km form Ipoh).

“The kids in these places don’t get much Sikhi education. So they are more vulnerable,” he said.

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

 

PERAK STORIES:

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Perak CM attends Vaisakhi open house (Asia Samachar, 28 Mar 2015)

UM Sikhs moulding young minds in Ipoh (Asia Samachar, 4 Mar 2015)

40 students start one-year pilot project in Perak (Asia Samachar, 3 Mar 2015)

Perak PEC centres get total RM65k funding  (Asia Samachar, 8 Feb 2015)

Free medical clinics at Kampar semagam  (Asia Samachar, 12 Jan 2015)

Kampar Dasmesh Pita starts on Jan 7 (Asia Samachar, 31 Dec 2014)

Perak Sultan graces Punjabi festival (Asia Samachar, 14 Dec 2014)

Reunion bash for Perak’s Ashby Road gurdwara  (Asia Samachar, 14 Dec 2014)

Perak allocates RM500,000 for Sikhs in state budget (Asia Samachar, 8 Dec 2014)

SikhMAI to raise funds for Perak accident victim (Asia Samachar, 7 Dec 2014)

STORIES ON VAISAKHI:

Perak CM attends Vaisakhi open house (Asia Samachar, 28 Mar 2015)

Vaisakhi back on Selangor state agenda (Asia Samachar, 26 Apr 2014)

Vaisakhi celebration in Muslim-majority Kelantan (Asia Samachar, 25 Apr 2014)

MBPJ invite for Selangor Vaisakhi open house (Asia Samachar, 25 Apr 2014)

Johor Bahru gurdwara requests return of land (Asia Samachar, 20 Apr 2014)

Full throttle at gurdwaras nationwide for Vaisakhi (Asia Samachar, 16 Apr2014)

Singapore honours armed forces veterans at Khalsa Week (Asia Samachar, 14 Apr2014)

Vaisakhi 2015 message from UK’s PM (Asia Samachar, 12 Apr 2015)

Rosmah and wives of ministers visit Gurpuri (Asia Samachar, 7 Apr 2015)

Vaisakhi 4K Run & Family Carnival (Asia Samachar, 5 Apr 2015)

4 COMMENTS

  1. As i read above… I read the text as below ;

    Some of the areas targeted were about an hour’s drive from the Ipoh centre. They included the Sikh Settlement in Tanjung Tualang (42km from Ipoh) and Tronoh Mines (49km form Ipoh).

    “The kids in these places don’t get much Sikhi education. So they are more vulnerable,” he said.

    So what the local organisations, so called local senior people are doing about this? Why none of the Sikh Socities @NGO’S do something for the youths over there. Always often hear samelans at those Gurdwaras where alot of activities for the youths n sangat but none at this places. No even any specific events for them. Well as per my side I have contacted the local sangat to have a samelan in tg tuallang, since the gurdwara in under renovation, ntg much can be done… but those senior sikhs of the comunity… can do many things.

    Hope for a awareness in the seniors tht the youths need their help to move forward.

    As per my discussion with some friends, when sikhs are converting to christianity alot of people are being highlight… but what about the punjabis which some call themself sikhs
    in thaipussam …. carrying kavadis n also other things during tht time…

    weakness of our sikh leaders in malaysia and also less support towards our local parcharaks is the biggest fault. our local
    jathas can provide proper guidance to handle situations in daily life. Ragi all “cari makan”. most of them only interested in cash. Ntg else.

    Bhul chuk maaf.

  2. I do agree with the comments made by Mr Santokh Singh. Bearing in mind that just having proggrammes to teach Sikism to our youth is not sufficient. We need to understand and explore what is it and how is it that the other group is able to influence our youth.
    Allow me to share, when I was growing up, in a small town up north, I had many Christian friends. I enjoyed their company and even found the christian fathers extremely friendly and fun to hang out with. They practise very subtle conversion methods. There would be cathecism classes in the pretext of improving one’s command in the English language. The christian father’s are always smiling, forever cheerful, always ever ready to part with advice and are very much atuned to the challenges faced by teenagers and young adults. They would tell me … come my child, Christ calls upon you, come and let him embrace you with his love.
    I never faltered, not even once. Reason was my parents, they made Sikhism alive and how it should be practised in our daily life via one’s daily activities. My mother taught us Punjabi and would regale stories of Bhai Mardana, Thena Bhagat, and all the 10 gurus in our sikh history. My dad taught us that doing prayers is insufficient, what distinguishes a Sikh is how he or she plays a role in society in helping others selflessly and he taught us girls by example which made it easy to emulate. It was my parents that built a strong foundation for us. It was not the gudwaras or the granthis or the ever critical “bebes”.
    The youth who come from broken,dysfunctional or ignorant families and if they have no access to activities or proggrammes catered to meet their needs in our gudwaras, we will most certainly loose them. The fault lies in us.
    Why are we blaming others for – they are after all showering our ignorant youth with love, kindness and words that are inspiring our youth and giving them hope, a place that they are comfortable hanging out and spending time. Where would you rather our youth be, there or involved with vices. Time to investigate,learn, evaluate and execute the appropriate measures not pointing fingers.

  3. The onslaught to convert is nothing new. Sikh Settlement Tg tualang has been mentioned above. I am from Sikh settlement. Tanjong Tualang and Tronoh Mines may be rural places but let me assure you that the area is strong as far as Sikhism is concerned. I remember that even during the British rule, there were Christian missionaries who visited these areas but were unable to do any damage simply because the Sikhs in these areas knew their faith well.
    In fact this area has produced many stalwarts who lead in many social, cultural and Punjabi Language issues not only locally but nationwide.
    I feel it is not advisable to confront head-on this traitors as it will only work in their favour.
    Instead we should strengthen our efforts to inculcate Sikhism in our younger generation. IF A CHILD / YOUTH IS WELL VERSED IN GURMAT/SIKHI THEN NO FORCE WHATSOEVER CAN SHAKE THE PERSON.
    Therefore the weakness lies in our institutions ..be it Gurdwaras or Associations.
    Perhaps Gurdwaras and institutions in Perak should meet and draw up relevant programmes for our youth.
    When Jodmelas are held in Gurdwaras, the programms are tailored for ADULTS. I have always advocated that the Perbandiks draw up parallel programmes for youth in adjacent rooms for them. Like talk by youth for youth ; CD shows ; story telling ets. We dont need Gianis for this….Youth can manage youth.

    We need to correct ourselves not confront. Then no force can shake us . JAB LAG KHALSA RAHEYO NIYAR………TAB LAG TEJ DIYO MAIn SARA.. Boleh Soo Nihal…..

  4. This religious sensitivity is just so childish, if a Sikh goes then their faith is not strong and if they convert then it means they believe in Christianity. Does it even matter?

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