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Malaysia: Media attention builds over Pastor's mysterious abduction, two months on
18 April 2017
This Easter Week marks the second month of utter silence regarding the whereabouts of Pastor Raymond Koh (62) - a charity worker who was professionally abducted in broad daylight on 13 February 2017.
Despite a lack of significant leads regarding his abduction, national and international media coverage of the abduction has continued, with the most recent article being featured on the BBC on 12 April.
The BBC mentioned Pastor Raymond's evangelistic activities to Malay Muslims, which is a crime in this Islamic country. Pastor Raymond's son, Jonathan, is quoted by the BBC as saying: "His alleged proselytism is not an excuse for kidnapping. If he did anything wrong, he should have the right as any citizen to trial."
But perhaps the most striking finding reported by the news agency was that in the absence of concrete information surrounding the vanishings, people begin to speculate that 'the authorities may have had a hand in all this' in what they call 'forced disappearances' ... 'a term which usually refers to state-sponsored abductions'.
In fact, a number other social activists are reported to have been missing since November last year; Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth (both Christians); Peter Chong, a social activist and former city councillor who disappeared two weekends ago; and Amri Che Mat, a Muslim alleged for spreading Shia Islam, which is banned by religious authorities.
In March, persecution analyst Thomas Muller said: "The abduction (of Pastor Raymond), which was carried out and filmed by the gang in broad daylight, raises many questions and the Christian community is feeling increasingly vulnerable."
Persecution in Malaysia
Pastor Raymond's abduction comes against a background of pressure against non-Muslims in Malaysia - which ranks as number 31 on Open Doors' World Watch List 2017.
Currently, the Malaysian parliament is debating a bill to empower Sharia (Islamic law) courts which, if passed, would pave the way for enforcing hudud: Islamic corporal punishment. Worryingly, Prime Minister Najib Razak is backing this contentious bill, which religious minorities fear could infringe their rights.
Source: BBC; Open Doors
- That Pastor Raymond would be found soon, alive and safe
- That the news coverage will positively pressurise the Malaysian government to resolve his case, but that it will not trigger a backlash against Pastor Raymond's family and friends by extremists
- For peace and comfort that surpass all understanding for the pastor's family. Especially for his son, Jonathan, who has been greatly disturbed by this incident.
More News from Malaysia:
- Kidnapped pastor still missing after one month
- Right to convert challenged
- Use of 'Allah' still unresolved for Malaysia's Christians
- Malaysia's 'Allah' ruling widely criticised
Find out more about persecution in Malaysia.