Sunday, June 18, 2017


16 JUNE 2017

The elections must be near. Yet another anti-Christian statement has emerged – this one written by so-called lawyer Azril Mohd Amin heading a coalition of NGOs that purport to stand for human rights!

Evangelical Christians have been here since before Malaysia was formed, and people of all faiths had been able to live harmoniously together for generations. Why is Azril suddenly struck with fear for the Muslims and engaging in a spot of Christian bashing?

Malaysia is a secular country. It has been established in several legal decisions that Article 3(1) of the Constitution provides that Islam is the religion of the Federation for official purposes; it does not mean that Malaysia is an Islamic country. Any lawyer worth his salt knows that. Tunku Abdul Rahman had also made that crystal clear when selling the idea of Malaysia. Besides, it is rather disingenuous of Azril to conveniently ignore the second part of Article 3 (1), ie that other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

Azril also selectively picks Clauses (4) and (5) of Article 11, while conveniently ignoring Clause (1), which states that “Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and, subject to Clause 4, to propagate it.” Unless he can specifically point to instances of Christians propagating their faith to Muslims, he should stop trying to cause mischief among the people. Trying to justify his absurd proposal by picking out Clauses of the Constitution in isolation of the other Clauses and disregarding the intent of the Articles does not do his profession as a lawyer any justice.

It is completely irresponsible of Azril to advocate the introduction of anti-evangelicalism laws such as the Russian Yarovaya Act, which was enacted to curb religious extremism and terrorism. By trying to link evangelicalism with religious extremism and terrorism, he is attempting to cause hatred and ill-will towards Christians. The fact that there is absolutely no evidence of any extremism and terrorism in Christians seems to be of no importance to Azril.

Azril’s further call for a Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act similar to the one in Singapore is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Azril specifically cites the provision permitting the Minister to make restraining orders against any person who is found to be causing feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different religious groups; carrying out activities to promote a political cause, or a cause of any political party while, or under the guise of, propagating or practising any religious belief; etc.

If we did have such an Act, people like Azril should be the ones issued with restraining orders. He is the one trying to stoke a fear of Christians among the Muslims in this country by ‘causing feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility’. His writing is highly inflammatory and seditious and I call upon the authorities to take action immediately against him and Utusan. The lack of any response from the government will encourage more people like Azril to become bolder in their unfounded and irrational attacks on Christians in this country.

It is laughable that the NGOs Azril represents claim to be advocates for human rights. It would be advisable for him and his NGOs to first respect the human rights of Christians to practise their faiths in peace, and to stop inventing a Christian agenda where there is none. His time would be better spent warning against the likes of Zakir Naik who is known to actively promote extremism and terrorism among youths.

Baru Bian
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak

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