Christians used as ‘pawns’ for votes, say church leaders

(The Malaysian Insider) – Many Christians feel victimised and are convinced they are being used as political pawns to win Muslim votes in the next general election, a number of church leaders have said.

The church leaders told the New York Times in a report published today that there was generally a feeling of Christian-bashing among the community which makes up less than 10 per cent of the population and consists of most major denominations.

“I think Christians are generally feeling that there is kind of a Christian-bashing going on,” Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) vice-president Rev Thomas Philips told the newspaper.

The report pointed out that recent events had worsened religious tension here, particularly after the controversial August 3 raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) in Petaling Jaya.

During the incident, Islamic religious authorities had moved in on a dinner function held at the church premises after receiving complaints that Christians were proselytising to Muslims there.

While no concrete proof was found and no action taken, Muslim politicians here and Muslim group Himpun had continued to claim of a plot by opposition parties and Christian organisations to Christianise the country.

The NYT pointed to Himpun’s series of planned nationwide rallies to “save and protect” Islam and cited Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan’s recent statement as examples of the continuing accusations causing “unease” in the Christian community even as they prepare for Christmas.

During the just-concluded Umno annual general assembly, Ahmad had warned that Islam would be “lost” if Pakatan Rakyat  (PR) made significant gains in the polls and had called the DAP “agents of Christianisation”.

Under fire for his words later and dubbed as “Hitler” by his opposition foes, Ahmad chose to stick to his guns, insisting that his statement was nothing but the truth.