Sabah, Evangelical Church of Borneo opposes introduction of sharia
Reverend Jerry Dusing, leader of the "Sidang Injil Borneo" terms the proposal incompatible with the Constitution. He promises that Christians will defend themselves "from any attempt to introduce Islamic law, injustice and extremism". Sabah State has a pluralistic and peaceful tradition. Christians make up 26% of the population.
Kota Kinabalu (AsiaNews) - We will defend our borders "from any attempt made by anyone to approve sharia law in this state", says Reverend Jerry Dusing, leader of the Evangelical Church of Borneo (Sidang Injil Borneo, Bb) commenting on the desire of some political parties to impose Islamic rules to the entire population of Sabah (North Borneo).
According to figures updated in 2010, Christians in Sabah are 853.726 (26.6% of the population). Muslims are 65.4% of the total.
The evangelical leaders called the proposal incompatible with the Malaysian Agreement [note that in 1963, North Borneo and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya, to form Malaysia ed]. It defines Malaysia as a secular federation: "This - continued Dunsing - was assured to all the inhabitants of Sabah and internationally recognized by Great Britain and Singapore, which approved the Constitution”.
Moreover, he added, "Sharia will not work in Sabah, which is pluralist in nature. We will guard our shores from injustice, unfairness and extremism". According Dusing Sabah has always welcomed with joy the harmony between different communities without a religious tensions, although Christians now live with the fear that their places of worship will be shut down.
Before the State of Sabah, Kelantan's Muslim community called for the introduction of sharia,opposed by the opposition minority. The proposal to include the hudud (punishment according to Sharia law) came from Partai Islam Se-Malaysia (Pas). Last May the ruling coalition (National Front) agreed to bring the discussion before parliament. The measure would introduce penalties such as the stoning of adulterers and hand amputation for thieves.
In late June Abdul Rahman Osman, Chief Mufti of Pahang state, called every non-Muslim citizen and those who oppose the inclusion of Sharia law in the legal system "kafir harbi". The term refers to non-believers in the Koran and the enemies of Islam, who therefore deserve death. The retired bishop Msgr. Paul Tan has called this statement "a threat to national security".
Reverend Jerry Dusing has also been fighting for time to get permission for the tribal languages Bahasa Malaysia (used by Christians in Sabah and Serawak) and Bahasa Indonesia to use the word "Allah" to refer to God in their translations of the Bible. In January 2015, the Federal Court dismissed the appeal of Catholics to use the term.