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Hoa Hao Buddhists dismiss ‘extremist' missionary duo

Update: August, 24/2010 - 10:23
CAN THO — The Hoa Hao Buddhist Sect's central executive committee has asked authorities in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta city of Can Tho to strictly punish brothers Dang Thanh Dinh and Dang Van Nghia for illegal missionary activities.

The activities of Dinh, 42, and Nghia, 38, were described as "opinionated and extremist".

The pair now reside in Phuoc Thoi Ward, O Mon district of Can Tho City.

Their alleged disregard of the laws were announced at a press conference jointly held by Can Tho City Fatherland Front, the Religious Committee and relevant agencies in Can Tho yesterday.

On February 27, Can Tho agencies announced that Dinh and Nghia had taken advantage of religious titles to illegally teach Hoa Hao Buddhism for profit and to cause social disorder.

The Hoa Hao Buddhist Sect's executive committee in Phuoc Thoi Ward confirmed in a document that Dinh and Nghia were neither Hoa Hao Buddhist followers nor Hoa Hao dogma teachers.

Both Dinh and Nghia declared themselves Hoa Hao Buddhist followers and regularly held get -togethers without permission on the seventh and eighth days every month.

It is alleged they illegally carried out missionary work, offered unregulated medical check-ups, and printed and distributed almost 20,000 CDs and cassette tapes which contained "private religious missionary content".

At yesterday's press conference, Hoa Hao Buddhist followers voiced support for Hoa Hao Buddhism, recognised by the State since 1999 with the guideline "For religion, for the nation".

The followers condemned Dinh and Nghia's alleged illegal missionary work which has caused discontent among the people.

They requested the State protect genuine Hoa Hao Buddhism and called on Hoa Hao followers to be vigilant about those who took advantage of religious freedom to make profit and cause disorder. — VNS

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