Yesterday Malaysia, together with Myanmar, was singled out to the American State Department for our respective countries’ unacceptable “treatment of religious minority communities”.
The State Department is headed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is a staunch evangelical Christian. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom or USCIRF had slammed both Myanmar and Malaysia in its press release yesterday (June 23).
USCIRF now wants Malaysia to be even more closely watched by the American government, alongside Myanmar which is already designated a “Country of Particular Concern”. Malaysia is currently placed on Tier 2 of the USCIRF Special Watch List for “engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA)”.
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ABOVE: Malaysian evangelist Susanna Liew pictured with her award from Pompeo and American First Lady Melania Trump
Evangelistas scream victimhood and discrimination
The USCIRF annual report on Malaysia released a fortnight ago under the auspices of the State Department said “ongoing social tensions pertaining to race, ethnicity, and religion continue to simmer below the surface, as they have for several decades” in our country.
USCIRF also said the current situation in Malaysia met with at least one element of “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” violation of religious freedom under IRFA standards.
Key findings from the USCIRF factsheet talked about the enforced disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh as well as the case of Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his Indonesian wife Ruth Sitepu, both of whom “simply vanished without a trace”.
Pastor Raymond’s wife Susanna Liew (photo above) was in Washington DC on March 4 this year to receive an award for courage.
Last year Susanna had been invited as well to the American capital to speak at a Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom event. There she shared her story of enduring police harassment and death threats as the surviving spouse of a Christian minority individual who suffered persecution due to his religion.
USCIRF noted in its backgrounder on Pastor Raymond and Susanna that “local Islamic authorities once investigated the organization over allegations that the group was working to convert Muslims to Christianity in addition to its various social and charitable endeavors”.
The dubious Christian charity function highlighted by USCIRF (as the subject of investigation by Malaysian Islamic authorities) referred to a JAIS raid on Harapan Komuniti — a group founded by Pastor Raymond.
A thanksgiving dinner at the Dream Center complex of the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) during fasting month on 3 Aug 2011 was raided by JAIS with police backup. The buka puasa organized by Raymond’s Hope Community was alleged to include Christian converts who were ex Muslims.