Terence Netto Published Updated
Catholic Bishop Emeritus Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing has described the call by certain Muslim groups to ban Evangelical Christianity as “symptomatic of an insecurity that appears to be well-nigh incurable.”
Bishop Paul was reacting to a call by a Muslim NGO, Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centra), that the government should ban Evangelical Christianity.
“Time and again we have seen certain individuals and groups raise a clamour about alleged Christian proselytisation of Muslims,” said the former head of the Melaka-Johor diocese of the Catholic Church and vocal exponent of freedom of religion and other human rights issues.
“So far as I can remember there has not been a single instance of these groups furnishing proof of their claims,” added the Jesuit-trained prelate.
“Yet the clamour does not cease. Instead, it gets more and more shrill and irrational such that one can't help but conclude that it stems from an insecurity that appears to be well-nigh incurable,” asserted the bishop.
He said Centra's call to ban Evangelical Christianity is the latest manifestation of a “deep-seated insecurity that can only be dispelled by Muslims who are aware that there is no greater threat to their religion than what some Muslims do in the name of their faith.”
Bishop Paul said “giving free vent to this insecurity foments the atmosphere where Christian pastors can be made to disappear without the authorities having any clue as to where they have gone.”
He was referring to the disappearance last November of Christian pastors, Joshua and Ruth Hilmy, and the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh in February this year.
The bishop praised the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) for encouraging people with information about their disappearance to contact the commission.
“This is a human rights issue and their disquiet over the blanks the police have drawn in their investigations must have prompted their decision to step into the breach and take up the search for mysteriously missing persons,” he said.
“But better than this measure would be tackling the deep insecurity which seeds the atmosphere in which harmless citizens can go missing and nobody knows where,” said the bishop.