Just what kind of evangelical ambassador did Wisma Putra unwittingly nurture for decades in the person of Dennis Joachim Ignatius?
The Foreign Ministry owes our Malaysian Muslim public some answers. Alarms bells should have been ringing loudly ere this.
We are a M-U-S-L-I-M country! Ignatius, however, has gone on a warpath against Malaysia’s biggest Muslim party, PAS.
Aggressive and cunning evangelicals indeed
Weighing in on the recent Jerusalem Jubilee controversy, Dennis Ignatius insists that “churches do not need a permit to hold a church event within their own premises”.
He then proceeds to publicly make a series of allegations about Malays and Muslims as reproduced below. Police must investigate this evangelical preacher under the Penal Code’s Section 298A on causing disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will on the grounds of religion.
The Malaysian evangelical former ambassador has accused Muslim groups such as PAS of feeling “free to insult and incite at will while Christians and others are obliged to be sensitive and servile”.
He alleges that “such arguments [citing the reason of religious sensitivity] have been used to restrict the building of churches; are they now going to be applied to Christian events(?)”.
He claims PAS is intolerant and continually harasses non-Muslim.
All the passages below are similarly excerpted and quoted verbatim from Dennis Ignatius’ June 11 blog article titled ‘Is sensitivity a one-way street?’
• Ignatius accuses some Malays (Red Shirts) of being a mob that threatened and intimidated minorities. He then asks if religious mobs will soon be doing the same
• He declares it is only in the feverish imagination of PAS that the Jerusalem Jubilee is perceived as “a sinister Zionist plot against Islam”
• He accuses PAS of deliberately exploiting the jubilee [planned but aborted by Malaysian church groups] and asserts that PAS had used the event “to vilify Christians”. At the same time, Ignatius implies PAS that is able to fear-monger only because some cultural settings – he’s alluding to Malaysia, obviously – are “rife with bigotry”
• He accuses PAS officials of manufacturing outrage against the jubilee
• He characterizes PAS as embarking “on a verbal rampage denouncing evangelical Christians as ‘aggressive and cunning’ and …”
• He depicts PAS as launching “an extremely damning and hateful indictment of Christians” just short of labeling non-Muslims ‘kafir harbi’
• He alleges that some Malaysians are lightly making “slanderous allegations against another faith [i.e. Christianity]”
• He claims “Christians [in Malaysia] are demonized and vilified on a regular basis” and that “this kind of rhetoric and incitement has led to increasing hostility against minority faiths”
• He further claims that “much of the invective against Christians that we are now hearing in Malaysia is similar to the kind of invective that we hear coming from ISIS”
• He additionally claims that certain “seminars [held in Malaysia earlier (…)] malign Christians and treat them as threats to national security”
• Ignatius declares: “It is this kind of incitement and hostility, much of it Wahhabi inspired no doubt, that radicalizes societies and sets the stage for the persecution and slaughter of Christians, and the abduction and disappearance of pastors, that are now commonplace in countries like Egypt, Syria and Iraq.”
• He concludes: “If our security officials want to understand why so many young people go off to join ISIS and other violent radical groups, they need look no further than the culture of religious intolerance and hate that is being perpetuated right here at home.”
What Dennis Ignatius has written above in his blog and subsequently published – in edited form – in the news portal(s) must be investigated for its possible seditious tendency, especially his allegation about setting “the stage for the persecution and slaughter of Christians”.
How could Ignatius have flown under the radar previously?
The Wisma Putra oversight committee appears to have been sleeping on the job.
According to his own NGO website, Ignatius slid into the Pentecostal variant of Christianity in 1986 while serving diplomatically in the USA.
His NGO is called Arise Ambassadors and established to “help believers fulfill their high calling as ambassadors for Christ”.
Since then, he has been passionate about spreading the Lord’s word. He has even written a book titled Fire Begets Fire.
His email devotional – the aptly named Fuel For The Fire – boasts an international circulation.
Among the testaments written by prominent public personalities about Ignatius include the following by well-known Malaysian Christian billionaire Francis Yeoh, the group managing director of YTL Corporation.
Yeoh wrote: “There is nothing more precious and exciting than to be filled with the fire of God. If you are desperate for the fire of God and yearn for a more vital relationship with Him, Fire Begets Fire is for you.”
“Dennis Ignatius is a man who has been consumed by the fire of God” — Rev. Rich Marshall, American pastor
“Dennis Ignatius is a man that carries Fire in his bones. He was deeply influenced by the passion that he saw in the church of Argentina and now he challenges the complacent church to rediscover her fire and purpose.” — Rachel Hickson, British director of Heartcry Ministries
“If you want to know what it means to forcefully advance the Kingdom of God, then this book is for you! Fire Begets Fire will surely become a standard for the 21st Century Church. These pages reveal key principles that will release the coming global Revival.” — Rev. Alistair P. Petrie, Canadian executive director of Partnership Ministries
Imagine. Malaysia – a Muslim country – had employed the above fiery Christian as ambassador embedded 36 years in our Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ignatius igniting the fire of … God
Ignatius retired in 2008. After his retirement, he now spends part of his time in Ottawa, Canada. Is he throwing his ‘sembunyi’ stones from there?
Compare Speaker Hannah Yeoh’s fervent prayer as recorded in her autobiography Becoming Hannah: “I tasted what Tasmania had to offer during my third and fourth years of university and my heart became set on staying in Australia for the rest of my life”.
Like Hallelujah Hannah, Ignatius is devoted to missiology and preaching passionately.
“Christians in the public square who understand their purpose and are committed to their calling have a tremendous capacity to influence culture and disciple nations,” he states in his NGO homepage.
What is the purpose of this evangelical mission as stated by Ignatius “to influence culture”?
On a separate note, we have seen DAP’s evangelical leaders doing their darndest to try influencing Malaysian culture to the point of denying citizens our right to self-identify as bangsa [Melayu].
These DAP beyond race ‘Anak Malaysia’ leaders like Hannah Yeoh have demanded that the ‘keturunan’ box be abolished as a requirement in our official identity document.
And then another one of Ignatius’ stated missions is also to “disciple nations”. His mission has echoes of Hannah’s pledge “to return to our home countries as ‘ambassadors of God’ and to make disciples of others” (Page 6-7)
Is this Malaysian ex-career ambassador formerly attached to Wisma Putra another one of those claiming possession of Malaysia for Christ? The evangelicals need to be reminded of Article 3 of the federal constitution.