Thousands have signed a petition urging the Trump administration to help pressure Malaysian authorities to use all their resources to find Raymond Koh, the Christian pastor who was abducted three weeks ago, and to further insure religious freedom within the country.
The petition asserts that since Pastor Koh was abducted by at least 5 masked men near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian authorities have been very slow to respond to his family's requests for a speedy and forthright investigation.
"Moreover, they have not voiced any support for the Christian community in Malaysia or pledged to make sure such attacks stop," it continues. "At this juncture, many of the religious freedoms that Christians have enjoyed in Malaysia and its multi-cultural atmosphere could come under increasing attack. I am asking that the White House and the US government help pressure the Malaysian authorities to use all their resources to find Pastor Koh and to further insure religious freedom within Malaysia."
As of Tuesday morning, the petition has received nearly 4,000 signatures - but needs a total of 96,043 signatures by March 26, 2017 to get a response from the White House.
As reported, Pastor Koh, 62, was abducted from a street while on his way to a friend's house. Leaked CCTV footage of the attack shows a military-style, professionally executed operation in which seven cars and at least 15 men took part.
The pastor's car was seen turning off a highway as three black SUVs surrounded it and forced it to a stop. At least eight men in black emerged from the SUVs, and another man emerged from a car behind them to record the operation.
World Watch Monitor reports that at first, police refused to file a "missing person" report, despite witnesses to the abduction. However, they have now formed a task force to investigate the case, which is believed to have religious connections.
Koh was previously at the center of controversy in 2011, when his NGO, Harapan Komuniti, was accused by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) of attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity following a raid at a thanksgiving and fundraising dinner at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church.
Later, the pastor received a death threat in the form of a bullet that was sent to his home.
Last week, Koh's son, Jonathan, filed a second police report on suspicion that his father was murdered. He explained that the reason for the report was the lack of information or a ransom demand, even though the family had offered a reward of about $22,500.
Koh's wife, Susanna, told The Star she has struggled to sleep since her husband's abduction and fears for his life and asked the international community to pray for his safe return.
"I don't know what is happening. I appeal to whoever has taken him not to harm him," she said. "He is a good husband, father and pastor, who helps the poor. My husband has been involved in Harapan Komuniti, a community work project which he set up more than 10 years ago and which involves giving free tuition classes to children and English lessons to adults."
She added, "My children and I are very anxious ... But I am very thankful and overwhelmed by the love and generosity of God's people. So many messages of support and encouragement have come in. God is good. He is faithful.
"Please continue to pray for his early release in a safe condition. Pray also pray for my and my children's safety. Let us persevere in prayer for the prayers of the righteous avails much. Let us continue to love God and do good to our neighbors. Raymond would be very happy today if he knows not only Malaysia is praying for him but also the whole world."