Thursday, August 26, 2010

Malaysian Christians banned from visiting Israel

I am a Malaysian Christian cum Minister. I am saving up so as to visit Israel one day. But I was disappointed as a new ruling was imposed lately that we are not allowed to visit Israel anymore. Can Christians both at home and abroad help pray and fight for our rights to do so? And I urge boards from CFM, NECF and Denomination Councils could write in or meet up with the PM for petition. I still hold hope there is a u-turn in situation.

Allow us our pilgrimages to Israel

Aug 25, 10

The joint call by DAP and MCA to rescind the 'Allah ban' to Home Ministry is definitely welcomed by not only all Christians but all Malaysians who value unity and harmony in our society.

Freedom of religion is enshrined in our constitution, and the government of the day must allow all religions to practise their faith. Religion must not be politicized ,or used as a tool to gain political mileage.

It is usually fear and ignorance that leads to misunderstanding among religious groups. Many who supported the Allah ban do not fully understand the issue. Just as many do not bother that there are significant differences between Christianity and Judaism, though both groups consider Israel as their holy land.

It was indeed a sad day for Christians in Malaysia when our government decided to impose a ban on travel to Israel. Before the ban, limited travel was allowed for religious purposes and pilgrimages.

When Malaysia did not recognize China, it still allowed travel to China for medical reasons. By the same token , it is the cry of Malaysian Christians to allow visits to Israel for religious purposes. A pilgrim to the holy land of Israel is as important to Christians as the Haj is important to our Muslim brothers.

Christians, when they are in Israel, strictly observe their pilgrimage and religious observances. Normally visits to places of importance in Jesus Christ's life and in the Bible are visited.

Many people, for lack of knowledge, do not know that Jesus Christ is not recognized in Judaism at all. At least in Islam, Christ is recognized as a prophet. Christian pilgrimages and tours of Israel do not have an iota of political element.

From the bottom of all Christian hearts, this appeal is made to our government, especially to our prime minister, to reconsider relaxing its rule on visits to Israel. Please consider visits for religious pilgrimages and visits. Do not politicize religion, Be a prime minister for all people and all religions in Malaysia.


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