A court in Malaysia has dismissed an appeal by two Christians seeking to restore a lawsuit against a hardline Islamist politician for defaming Christians about six years ago.
The Court of Appeal on Aug. 16 upheld an earlier ruling by the High Court to drop a charge of sedition against Abdul Hadi Awang, president of the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS)
Maklin Masiau and Lawrence Jomiji Kinsil Maximilhian, from Sabah state, filed a lawsuit in December 2020 against Hadi, accusing him of libeling Christians in an article published in Harakah, a PAS-run newspaper, in 2016.
In the article, Hadi, now 74, accused Christian missionaries of preying on poor and uneducated people in impoverished communities in states like Sabah by paying them off to convert to Christianity.
“Unfortunately, after being rejected in Europe, Christian missionaries [have] taken [their] teachings to the interior areas of our country, such as in Sabah and Sarawak,” the politician wrote, referring to two states in Borneo where many of the country’s Christians live.
“They have spread their religion not by using knowledge and reasoned argument but by baiting their targets with money and other forms of aid. This is transgression in the name of religion. It is a danger that must be fought.”