LOS ANGELES: A former Los Angeles police officer and a self-styled preacher has sparked a major controversy by suggesting that the people in earthquake-hit Nepal should convert to Christianity and not rebuild their ‘pagan shrines’.

An outspoken conservative, Tony Miano who in the past has been accused of homophobia, invited annoyed responses after he posted a series of messages on micro-blogging site Twitter. While he expressed sympathy towards the people affected by the devastation in Nepal, Miano suggested that God was angry with them.

Based in California, Miano describes himself an open air preacher. His website explains that he established the Cross Encounters Ministries to offer a platform for his preaching and evangelism.

Nepal has a population of approximately 28m and has 85 percent of Hindus. The country has a significant population of Buddhists, followed by several other minority communities, including Muslim and Christian.