PAS leader slammed over comments on missionaries

PETALING JAYA • The leader of opposition party Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, has come under fire for his comments about conversions by Christian missionaries, The Star has reported.

Mr Hadi was on Monday quoted as saying in the party newsletter Harakah Daily that the missionaries were spreading their teachings in Africa and Sabah and Sarawak after being rejected by the educated in Western nations. He also claimed that the missionaries were using money and other forms of aid to get people to convert.

"Unfortunately, after being rejected in Europe, Christian missionaries have taken their teachings to those African countries where the people are far from being educated and civilised. They have also taken these teachings to the interiorareas of our country, such as in Sabah and Sarawak," he was quoted as saying, according to the Free Malaysia Today website.

Among those who criticised Mr Hadi was Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Liow Tiong Lai, who said Mr Hadi's statement was irresponsible and hurtful towards Christians. "I strongly condemn the extremist statement hurting the Christians, which is also dangerous and irresponsible," he said.

The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) said Mr Hadi's comments ignored what he alleged Islamic agencies and institutions were also doing in Malaysia.

"(Mr) Hadi seems to ignore that the very thing he accuses Christians of doing is the very same thing Islamic agencies and institutions are doing in our country and beyond," CCM general-secretary Hermen Shastri was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying.

"There are many documented reports of Islamic missionary activities in the country especially targeting the natives of Sabah and Sarawak to win people to Islam with all kinds of incentives," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'PAS leader slammed over comments on missionaries'. Print Edition | Subscribe