Anti-evangelicalism laws uncalled for and provocative


PETALING JAYA: The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia (NECF) says it is appalled by a call to outlaw Christian evangelicalism in Malaysia, equating it to Russia’s move to heighten regulation on such activities there.

Its chairman Eu Hong Seng today said the suggestion by Centre of Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) CEO Azril Mohd Amin in an article, where he reasoned that evangelicalism is a dangerous movement, was made without producing any supporting evidence.

He said the idea to set up anti-evangelicalism laws is uncalled for and provocative.

He said it is in the the same vein as the Yarovaya Act instituted by Russia last year against evangelicalism, with the stated intention to curb religious extremism and terrorism. The legislation also includes a ban on the performance of “missionary activities” in non-religious settings.

Eu said local and international media reports however do not name Malaysian evangelical Christians as being involved in extremism and terrorism.

“The essay has the tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility against evangelical Christians,” he said, describing it as irresponsible and seditious.

“It is extremely disconcerting that these radical and extreme views are published by Utusan Malaysia, a national newspaper,” he said in a statement.

Azril had said in a column yesterday that the government made the right decision by directing the police to bar the “Jerusalem Jubilee” gathering organised by the All Malaysian-Golden Gate Revival Convocation (AMGGRC) evangelical group in Melaka from June 15 to 18.

He claimed that the movement had initiated a new religious outlook 20 years ago that was inclined towards liberties and openness “without limitation”.

He claimed that even Christian scholars had admitted that the movement’s inclinations had brought negative impact to the growth of the church.

Azril said the government should consider introducing an anti-evangelicalism law to prevent Christian propaganda from becoming dominant.

“It is a fact that the groups that are spreading Christian propaganda to Malaysians, especially Muslims, will keep up their efforts as they believe that there is no effective law that can stop them,” he said.

Eu called on the police and Prime Minister Najib Razak to act on the matter, saying Azril’s suggestion was in violation of basic human rights and the protections guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

“We call upon the Police to take action against the writer and newspaper concerned under the Sedition Act and Penal Code for uttering and publishing words which tend to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between people of different religions,” he said.

“We call on the prime minister to ensure that the rights of every citizen of this country as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution regardless of their religious persuasion be protected, upheld and enforced.”

He added that Najib and other members of the government need to keep to their oath of office and uphold the fundamental rights of all citizens, including minority Christians, by condemning such statements which he said are harmful to peace, harmony and goodwill in Malaysia.

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