A Brunei citizen has sparked anger among Malaysia's Sarawakians after he called for churches along the Miri-Brunei road to be demolished. The Bruneian wrote in a forum in the Reddit website that the churches along the road were proselytising to Muslims on Monday 20 June.
Using the name 'patrioticbrunei', the user claimed that Brunei citizens were upset that churches in Miri in Sarawak were displaying "provocative" words in their front walls facing the road. "Nowadays I can see many big churches sprung up in Miri, blatantly displaying words praising Jesus," patrioticbrunei wrote.
"I believe this is an attempt to proselytise Bruneians. The churches know many Bruneians visit Miri so they deliberately construct the building near the roadside and put up provocative words such as 'Jesus is Lord', 'Jesus can save you', 'Glory to Jesus' and more."
Patrioticbrunei said he plans to write to the Miri City Council to demand that the churches be demolished and asked the Brunei government to send a delegation to Miri to demand the demolition of the churches. He added: "Even though more than 50% of Mirians are Christians they should know the limit and not overdo it."
The Reddit post drew widespread anger. One user slammed patrioticbrunei for his comments saying that only those with weak faith would be enticed simply by seeing words displayed outside of buildings. "You should be questioning yourself now whether you are a real believer of Allah or you just love to portray the image that you are a believer," the person said.
Others urged patrioticbrunei not to visit Miri if he was so offended by these signs. "These signs have been there for ages." The user has since deleted his account but the comments to those who had responded to his posting are still up on the forum.
Even Lawrence Lai, the Mayor of Miri, entered the social media fray by calling on foreign visitors to respect the locals' way of life. "We welcome any foreign visitors, regardless of their racial and religious backgrounds, to come and witness how we in Miri live in harmony with one another.
Lai, who said that Sarawak practices religious freedom, added: "If what we practise have offended any one or visitor, my advice to them is to come more often so that they will know about us."