Christians say they were tricked into converting to Islam
Inhabitants of remote Malaysian village say they were bribed
A Protestant church in Sabah
- Herald Malaysia
- January 20, 2014
The small, white, nondescript wooden Protestant Church in Sabah (PCS) church in the Dusun village of Layung Maliau, in Sabah's remote Pitas district, was again packed for its Sunday service yesterday.
It has been filled to the brim since the first Sunday of 2014.
But what was strange in this revival of faith in this dirt poor village of 100 people is that a third of the worshippers are “Muslims” – or are supposed to be.
“They think they had converted us (to Islam). They are wrong. We are still Christians and our faith in God has not changed,” housewife Lenney Masangal said, explaining the presence of “Muslims” at the church.
The 41-year-old mother of three was one of 33 people from the village who claimed that they were tricked into converting into Islam for a mere RM100 on New Year's day.
They were part of a group of about 64 people, including children, from three villages in Pitas – Kampung Layung Maliau, Dowokon and Sosop – who had allegedly been converted.
A fellow villager, on returning from Pitas town, called everyone to his house to announce the “good news” that “some people from Kuala Lumpur” are giving them financial assistance.
“We all went to his house to hear how we could receive the financial assistance,” farmer Maison Bilu said.
When told that the amount would be RM800 per person, Maison was beyond excited.
The 44-year-old lost all sense of reasoning as he – there are seven of them in his family – was only thinking of how much he would be getting.
“Nobody asked who were these people giving us the financial assistance. We were only told 'people from Kuala Lumpur'. We didn't even ask the reason they are giving us this money,” Maison said.
“Everyone just wanted the money. That's all.”
Getting RM800 was like winning the lottery for the villagers who depended on subsistence farming to survive.
Source: Herald Malaysia