Bishop Datuk Bolly Lapok of the Anglican Church's Kuching Diocese in Sarawak, Malaysia, said Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had no right to talk about Christians and Sarawak's indigenous people, the Dayaks, in such recent disparaging manners. Hadi, whose observations were published in a PAS document, was cited as saying "Christian missionaries used unethical means to spread their faith."
Hadi's remarks were against Christian missionaries in Sarawak and Sabah, according to The Malaysian Insider.
Bolly, who also is the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southeast Asia, said the Islamist party president was a "loose cannon" and a person of "no substance."
"With due respect to him as a one of the political leaders, Hadi (should) put all of his condemning words in a basket and throw it into our Sarawak river. He (is) plainly mischievous," Bolly said.
Hadi's remarks were published in the PAS organ, Harakah. He stated Christianity is no longer attractive in countries where there is a high level of education, such as Germany, France, Britain and other European countries. They brought their teaching to the interiors of our country like Sabah and Sarawak.
"I do not know what sort of books he is reading, what sources he is quoting or how he reached that observation. He is a person of no substance, and has no right to talk about Christians or the Dayaks in Sarawak," Bolly told The Malaysian Insider.
Hadi also said Christian missionaries used unethical means to spread their faith, such as giving money and other incentives.
Bolly attacked these remarks, saying Sarawak's history showed that Christians in the state, the majority of whom are Dayak people, would disagree that they had been exploited.
"Humans are imperfect, but to dismiss the whole missionary movement as rejected in Europe is completely arrogant and mischievous," Bolly said.
Christianity appeared in Sarawak in the 1930s through missionaries. Bolly, chair of the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM), said he heard of Hadi's remarks on Wednesday when he arrived home from the Meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Canterbury, England. At the meeting, Anglican clerics discussed the issue of moderation and the threat to civilization posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group.
Bolly said even governments of Muslim countries were calling for help to fight the ISIS threat.
Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) Sarawak chairman Mohamad Fidzuan Zaidi described Hadi's statement on Christian missionaries as insensitive. The former Parti Islam SeMalaysia Sarawak election director said such baseless criticism would not do well in a multi-racial and multi-religious state.
"Amanah Sarawak rejects any effort to belittle other religions," he said.