By Nur Ashikin Louis and Chris Bishop
KUCHING, Jan 3: The growth of the Muslim community in the world is contributed by the migration policy adopted by certain governments, not birthrate or conversion.
Regional Islamic Da’wah Council of Southeast Asia & the Pacific (RISEAP) deputy president Ridzuan Wu, in taking Australia as an example, said back in 1980, the government census of Australia recorded only about 76,792 Muslims.
Last year, the number has increased to 813,392 Muslims which recorded 10 times increase.
“Now is this due to the Muslim population’s birthrate being higher? No. There is nothing significant (about it).
“Is it because of the whole world’s population increase? The world’s population in 1980 was about 4 billion people and today, it’s about 8.3 billion where the population of the world has doubled. But the population of Muslims in Australia has increased by more than 10 times, so what accounts for it?
“Is it because of conversion process? No. There is no significant data to support that fact,” he said during RISEAP’s 19th General Assembly held at Riverside Majestic Hotel here today.
Wu further explained that the migrants in the Pacific area of Australia and New Zealand are largely from humanitarian or employment reasons.
He further cited the 15-year civil war in Lebanon from 1975 to 1990 and Turkish Invasion of Cyprus 1974 which saw the Australian government easing entry restrictions for Lebanese refugees and Turkish Muslims individuals, respectively.
Additionally, he mentioned that many governments today are welcoming Muslims through the development of Muslim-friendly facilities such as musalla (surau) and availability of halal food.
“If you visit Takashimaya Shinjuku department store in Japan, if you go up to the 11th floor, you will see a musalla for people to pray. You visit many of the main train stations, they have developed musallas for Muslims to pray.
“If you go to Narita International Airport, there are at least four musallas. Similarly, there are musallas in Haneda Airport and Osaka Airport.
“This is because the governments such as the Japanese and South Koreans, want to promote more people to come to Japan and welcome Muslims to come to Japan. In fact, they have policies and plans to open up more Muslim prayer halls, restaurants and so on.
“So go and visit some of these countries. Don’t (think) it might be very difficult to get food and find a place to pray and so on. You will be surprised when you actually go to these places and when you make use of these facilities, you are positively sending a signal to the government that their policies are working, Muslims are coming to their countries and we are making use of these facilities,” he elaborated.
The RISEAP’s 19th General Assembly was officiated by Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg. — DayakDaily