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Authorities urged to uphold spirit of religious harmony

19th June, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The authorities must act to deter utterances that threaten harmony and unity such as the call to outlaw Christian evangelicalism.

“The spirit of religious harmony which forms part of the shared history of our nation must be respected, maintained and preserved at all costs by all concerned,” the Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) President, Bishop Melter Jiki bin Tais said in a strongly worded statement yesterday.

His statement was in response to the call made on Utusan Online on June 15 by Azril Mohd Amin, the CEO of Centre for Human Rights Research and advocacy (or Centhra). Azril wanted evangelicalism outlawed because it is “a dangerous movement”.

Bishop Melter said: “Christian evangelicalism is not merely an intellectual definition, but a practical express of God’s love.”

The SCC is the umbrella body of all the denominational churches in Sabah such as the Catholics, Basel, the Anglicans and churches under Sidang Injil Borneo.

Calling for actions under the Sedition Act and the Penal Code against Azril, the Bishop SCC member churches’ involvement in education and other social work have benefited people in Sabah irrespective of their colour or creed.

Mission schools, including prominent ones such as SM All Saints, SM La Salle in Kota Kinabalu and the Basel-sponsored kindergarten, primary and secondary schools under the ‘Lok Yuk’ name have produced many leaders in various professions and disciplines.

“We abhor such provocative and insensitive statement to disrupt our existing unity and harmony.”

In Penampang yesterday, DAP Sabah’s Political Education Director Adrian Lasimbang called for the upholding of secularism in Sabah, and urged the authorities to stop acts that amounted to ‘bullying’ of religions.

Adrian described Centhra’s stand as provocative and disturbing.

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