DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA : — “Those who convert to Christianity will lose their right to be Indian,” said a Hindu religious leader in South Africa, a view which has hurt and caused rifts within the Christian Community.
According to the report from Christian Today (www.christiantoday.com), Thillayvel Naidoo, a Tamil linguist and an executive member of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, an organization representing various Hindu organizations, made these remarks after a Christian convert, Deena Muthen, urged people to maintain their language and culture even if they convert.
Muthen, now a pastor of a church in the large Indian-dominated residential township of Chatsworth in Durban, was a Hindu priest who converted to Christianity. He had told his congregation to be “proud of their rich language and culture.”
However Naidoo declared that Muthen’s comments were just ways to entice poor and easy giving people to convert to Christianity.
“Those who reject their religion lose the right to be completely Indian,” he was quoted as saying. “He (Muthen) is distracting people with his Tamil preaching and hymns. Just because he preaches in Tamil does not mean anything, and I condemn it.”
However, Muthen rejected the assertion saying he made the comments because there was hunger for Indian culture and language among Indian Christians.
“I have been urging churches to become more culturally involved,” he said. “People desire to know their heritage, and we can teach them Tamil. There is a lack of knowledge among Christian Indians, but this does not mean that we are not Indian or less than Indian.”
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