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Islamic Party President Under Fire Over Remarks on Christian Missionaries

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In a report from The Malaysian Insider, Datuk Bolly Lapok, the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese in Sarawak blasted Abdul Hadi Awang calling him a ‘loose cannon’ and a person of no substance for his insensitive remarks on Christian missionaries. Hadi is the President of The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Malay: Parti Islam Se-Malaysia), commonly known as PAS. Bolly is also the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southeast Asia

Hadi claimed, “Christianity is no longer attractive in countries where there is a high level of education, such as Germany, France, Britain and other European countries. They brought their teaching to the interiors of our country like Sabah and Sarawak.)’ He also said that Christian missionaries used unethical means to spread their faith, such as giving money and other incentives. “People who are hemmed in by the difficulties of living would easily accept their assistance and, in the end, become influenced by them.”

Bolly had attended the Meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Canterbury, England where they discussed the issue of moderation and the threat to civilisation posed by the Islamic State (Isis) militant group. He said even governments of Muslim countries were calling for help to fight the Isis threat. “We are called to fight together on things which are wrong. To my dismay, upon arriving home on Wednesday, this was what I hear.”

“With due respect to him as a one of the political leaders, Hadi (should) put all of his condemning words in a basket and throw it into our Sarawak river. He (is) plainly mischievous.”

“I do not know what sort of books he is reading, what sources he is quoting or how he reached that observation. He is a person of no substance and has no right to talk about Christians or the Dayaks in Sarawak.”

Sabah Council of Churches president Datuk Jerry Dusing said the work of mission workers have been transparent and centred on three areas – the church, hospitals and schools. He said all three have proved to be successful without any report of bribery or inducements for converting to Christianity. Dusing said Hadi’s remarks reflected his ignorance of the central tenets of Christianity.

“As Christians, cheating and bribery, inducements and compulsion are not justifiable and simply, are sins.” He adding that Hadi’s statement was meant to ignite religious sectarianism and create discord and hatred in society.

MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said, “I strongly condemn the extremist statement hurting the Christians, which is also dangerous and irresponsible,” he added the statement was”lopsided and provocative” only to create distrust and conflict and disrupted religious harmony. Liow said MCA recognised the churches’ outstanding contribution to Malaysian education, adding that it would strongly uphold and protect the right of Christians to preach and practise in the country.

MCA religious harmony bureau chairman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker said, “His statement is not only inflammatory but simplistic and very general, having a tendency to infiltrate and pollute lesser minds with prejudices and falsehoods,” he said.

MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun pointed to a news article which reported the PAS Kelantan government’s offer of financial incentives to Muslim preachers who married an orang asli as a way of converting the 3,000-plus community in the state. – See more


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