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Christians want non-Muslim ministry

Ecumenical body calls for end to attacks by state-owned media
Christians want non-Muslim ministry
Published: January 05, 2012 09:29 AM GMT
Updated: January 05, 2012 09:30 AM GMT

The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) has called on Prime Minister Najib Razak to address problems faced by non-Muslims seriously, especially increasing attacks on Christians by state-owned media. “In the past year … we have witnessed unprecedented incidences where Christians have been made victims of unwarranted and unfounded accusations, vilification, insults, even police reports,” said a CFM statement released yesterday. “What’s more we see official organs of government including government-controlled media being used for this purpose with impunity,” said the statement signed by CFM chairman Anglican Bishop Ng Moon Hing. The CFM reiterated its proposal for the setting up of a ministry of non-Islamic affairs, “given the enormity of the issues facing non-Muslims.” The statement also called on the government to respect a high court ruling on December 31, 2009 allowing the Catholic weekly, Herald, to use the word “Allah” for God in the Malay language. Implementation of the judgment has been stayed since then after vehement protests from Muslim groups. The CFM also called on the government to “begin the process of dismantling laws, regulations, policies, guidelines and directives which restrict and prohibit other religions from using the word Allah and other words.” “We are pained by those ugly manifestations which trample upon moderation. We Christians would like to work with the government for the sake of our beloved Malaysia,” the statement concludes. In a speech the prime minister announced that the education ministry in appointing principals at mission schools will engage in full consultations with the respective school boards. He also promised Bible knowledge would be an examination subject and taught in schools after official hours if requested by parents. He also promised donations to churches and religious organizations would be exempt from tax. CFM is an umbrella body that comprises the Council of Churches Malaysia, National Evangelical Christian Fellowship and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

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