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Friday, March 30, 2012

Bishop Ng: Seminar content must change


He says the change in the title does nothing to remove the hurt felt by Christians.
PETALING JAYA: Tomorrow’s seminar for Johor teachers remains hurtful to Christians despite the organisers’ decision to remove any reference to Christianity in the wording of its theme.
Bishop Ng Moon Hing, chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) said in a media statement today that Christian feelings would be soothed only if the content and structure of the forum were changed as well to remove any implication that Christianity was a threat to Muslims in the country.
He was commenting on statement by Johor state assemblyman Maulizan Bujang that the title of the seminar would be changed following protests from non-Muslims.
When the seminar was announced recently, the organisers gave it the unwieldy title of “Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianisation of Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?”
A Bernama report quoting Maulizan did not give the new title. It only said that the reference to Christianity would be removed.
The seminar is organised by the Education Ministry, the Johor Education Department and the Johor Mufti’s office.
“Even though there has now been an attempt to re-name the title of the seminar, the intent of the seminar has been clearly exposed for all to see,” Ng said.
“We condemn the Johor State Education Department’s action. It is insufficient to rename the seminar without changing the content and structure of the seminar.”
He added that seminars organised by government agencies must not “foment tensions among our peaceful and harmonious peoples.”
Religion as a dividing tool
He said the attempt to paint Christianity as a threat to Islam was unfounded and unjustified.
“Religion must never be used to divide our country, destabilise its harmony and destroy its unity.”
He also said the seminar would run afoul of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak attempt to showcase Malaysia as a moderate Muslim country, as evident in his speeches before international audiences .
Referring to the Prime Minister’s speech at the “Global Movement of Moderates” conference in Kuala Lumpur early this year, Ng said: “Najib has called on all Malaysians to work together on the basis of our common religious principles and values of moderation in nation building.”
He urged the government to take “immediate and concrete steps” to stop painting Christianity as a threat.
“Government departments must not be seen to be working at—and should not be allowed to work at—cross purposes to the government’s aims by instilling hatred and ill will between religious communities.
“Such contradictory objectives will only serve to divide the nation rather than unite it.”

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