Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Minister Explains Directive Banning Aggressive Evangelization

ICC Note: Cambodia ’s minister of Religions and Cults provides an explanation of the recent directive banning non-Buddhists from teaching their religion outside of their religious compounds.

7/24/07 Cambodia (UCAN) — Minister of Religions and Cults Khun Haing has met local Christian leaders to explain a recent government directive that bans house-to-house proselytizing and material inducements for conversion.

Eighteen representatives of six Churches in Cambodia met Haing on July 19 at the minister’s office. Three Catholics, including a priest, took part.

The directive that Haing’s ministry issued on July 13 says religious leaders and teachers can preach only within the compounds of their worship places, and prohibits using money or other material inducements to convert people. It also says authorities must grant approval before a place of worship may be built.

Catholic Church leaders and workers have told UCA News the recent directive does not affect their Church and they largely agree with the directive.

Having told the Christian leaders that similar directives had been issued in 1999 and 2003, so the recently issued the directive is not new. He explained that many Buddhists, who account for more than 90 percent of Cambodia ‘s estimated 12 million, have complained that some Christian groups have been forcing people to accept Christian faith formation. He added that those groups denigrate Buddhism, claiming it is a false religion with false gods.

The ministry issued the latest directive, Haing said, to try to ensure peace in society. He noted that the ministry had earlier released another directive banning Buddhist monks from joining demonstrations and riots. It was prompted, he explained, by a street clash between two opposing groups of monks in April in Phnom Penh . At least two monks were injured in the clash that erupted after some Cambodian monks from southern Vietnam staged a protest against Vietnam , voicing allegations of religious suppression in that country.

Haing assured the Christian leaders that they may engage in religious activities but must “always get official permission.” He also pointed out that the government has not given permission to any non-Buddhist religion to build new places of worship since the beginning of this year…

(Full story)