Bishops denounce Malaysian state-sponsored persecution of Christians

 

Bishops denounce Malaysian state-sponsored persecution of Christians

Author: 

George Conger

The Primate of the Church of the Province of South East Asia, the Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, Bishop of Kuching, has called for Malaysians to lift up their country in prayer, seeking God’s blessing for the nation as it struggles with sectarian divisions and rising government sponsored persecution of Christians. Speaking last week at the Kuching Mission and Evangelism Forum, the archbishop said: “We want the journey of the church to be praying for the welfare of the nation and to be about what we as the church do at the national or international level,” The archbishop’s remarks come amidst a government led crackdown on the distribution of Christian literature. On 18 May 2015 the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup told the Christian Federation of Malaysia the government had decided that Christian publications with the word "Allah" could not be imported into Peninsular Malaysia. Malay language Bibles may be imported from Sabah and Sarawak but only for personal use, he said. The Bishop of West Malaysia, the Rt. Rev. Hing Moon, (pictured) told Anglican Ink the new rules contravened promises made by the government in 2011. The Sabah Council of Churches (SCC), the Association of Churches of Sarawak (ACS) as well as the Christian Federation of Malaysia “have totally and unanimously rejected the draft” rules. Bishop Moon noted it was unfortunate the government proposed to rescind its toleration of Christian literature. “There is already so much 'persecution' towards the Christian community in Malaysia. We can smell the increasing repression of religious space as an intentional effort of using extremism to create fear and threats for political mileage. How can the minority 10% Christians threaten the majority 60% Muslims by using the [Bible],” he asked. “This is ridiculous and laughable. We insisted that the authorities need to return to the Federal Constitution of the freedom of religion and each religious community manages its own affairs and do not need another religious community to tell them how to behave and what not to use.”

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