ASIA/MALAYSIA - Builders of bridges, peacemakers: Christians participate in the life of the nation

Thursday, 9 May 2019 peace   civil society   politics   religious minorities   human rights   religious freedom  

Kuala Lumpur (Agenzia Fides) - "The Church in Malaysia contributes to the common good of the nation": says to Agenzia Fides Archbishop Julian Leow, at the head of the diocese of Kuala Lumpur, and newly elected President of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) for the two-year period 2019-2021. The CFM is a body that brings together Christian leaders of different denominations.
"While the administration of the same party ruled in the last 61 years of government - he said - now we are in a new era with a new government. Changing the government that was in power since independence was something that many people did not expect. It is like a breath of fresh air for the country and the dawn of renewed hope". The Archbishop states: "On our behalf, as Christians, we too have a supporting role in the construction of the nation and we are called to share our vision of the future".
Mgr. Leow states: "We must be the voice of conscience: a voice that will constantly remind the government of the promise to support religious freedom, to engage in constant dialogue with all religious leaders and to protect the interest of Christian schools, which remain an important element for the education of the new generations and for the construction of the nation. We must remind those in power of the task of working for all the components of Malaysian, multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious society, to contribute to mutual respect and good will of all communities".
The Archbishop points out that "Christian leaders can open the doors to dialogue and to the commitment with Muslims, breaking down the walls that divide us and act as builders of bridges and peace workers". Mgr. Leow explained that the CFM will work together with the "Malaysian Advisory Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism", to manage, even with constant relations with the authorities, the issues relating to the life of religious communities in Malaysia, with an inclusive spirit and guided by the Constitution, according to the principles of the rule of law.
Archbishop Leow quoted Pope Francis, stating that "in order to build a nation we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a hostile mentality to adopt a spirit of mutual subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best".
Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country founded on secular principles, even though it has undergone a gradual process of Islamization in 55 years of independence. Christianity in Malaysia is a minority religion practiced by 9.2% of the population (2010 census). Two thirds of the 2.6 million Christians live in eastern Malaysia, composed of the provinces of Sabah and Sarawak (on the large island of Borneo), where they make up 30% of the population. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 9/5/2019)