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  • » 07/15/2009, 00.00

    MALAYSIA

    Nine Christians arrested accused of proselytizing



    Muslim students at the University Putra Malaysia (UPM) argue that the group distributed leaflets about Christianity. The story seems linked to the controversy regarding an article by two Muslims journalists who faked being Catholics and attended two masses taking communion, to see if forced conversions occur during celebrations.

    Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) - Nine Christians were arrested on charges of wanting to convert some Muslim students at the University Putra Malaysia (UPM) in Serdang, near the capital Kuala Lumpur.   Annou Xavier, defence lawyer of those arrested, says five Muslims students made the report accusing the nine, two of whom are students in UPM, of distributing leaflets and booklets on Christianity. In Malaysia proselytizing is prohibited by law and in most districts is punishable by prison.

    The University Putra Malaysia episode comes at a tense time between the Muslims and Christian community, which in its various denominations counts for less than 2 of 28 million inhabitants of Malaysia, two-thirds Muslim. On July 8, two Catholics denounced the monthly Al-Islam for a report on alleged forced conversions to Christianity. Two Muslim journalists faked being Catholics and participated in two masses, receiving communion, thus desecrating the Host of which they also  published a picture. The two failed to collect evidence in support of their argument, but they accuse Catholics of using the word Allah to define God during celebrations in the local language.

    Reached by AsiaNews, Fr Andrew Lawrence, director the Herald, the magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Kuala Lumpur, says that the story of Al-Islam "has humiliated Catholics in Malaysia and is a violation of the rights of Christians as well as a direct challenge to the Federal Constitution which affirms the freedom of religion. "

    Fr. Lawrence links the article of the Muslim monthly magazine to an episode in which the Herald was the main protagonist. For more than a year, the weekly magazine has been struggling with a legal matter in which they have brought the government to court because it prohibits the use of the word "Allah" in Catholic publications in Malay language. The priest and director noted that Friday 17 there will be a new sitting of the trial and reaffirms the position of the local church: "In 1641 the then Congregation for Propaganda Fide published a Latin Malay vocabulary which made this translation. The Malaysia of today was born in 1957. Celebrations in Malay have always used Allah for God, because the word is translated into the different languages in which mass is recited”.
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    See also

    14/10/2013 MALAYSIA
    Malaysia , Christians banned from using "Allah ". Catholics announce appeal
    This morning the appeals court ruled that the word be “exclusively" used by Muslims . The director of "Malaysia Herald", Fr. Lawrence, expresses " disappointment and shock " and announces appeal to the Federal Court to seek redress. Minister of the State of Sarawak (Borneo ) states : Here Christians can continue to use the word Allah.

    28/12/2007 MALAYSIA
    Catholic weekly denounces government for banning Christians from using the world “Allah”
    The Minister for Security blocks the Malay language editions and buries publication permission for the only Catholic newspaper. It also stops the importation of Protestant books which use the word “Allah”. Its use outside Islam is considered a “very sensitive” issue.

    08/01/2010 MALAYSIA
    Malaysia: Four Christian churches attacked over controversy on the use of "Allah"
    Three Protestant places of worship, and one Catholic in the sights of Islamic fundamentalists. The offices of Metro Tabernacle Church damaged. Cars owned by Catholics vandalised. The director of the Catholic weekly Herald confirms "pressure" on government and judiciary to "cancel the Supreme Court ruling."

    22/07/2011 MALAYSIA
    Malaysia: Christians can not use "Allah" to define God
    Prominent Muslim religious figure intimates that the use of the word "Allah" for God has to stop because it can arouse the wrath of the Islamic community. The attack comes only days after Pope Benedict XVI received the Malaysian Premier to establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

    08/07/2010 MALAYSIA
    Three young Muslim men on trial for attack on Kuala Lumpur church
    An explosion and subsequent fire destroyed the Metro Tabernacle Church. Other churches, including the Catholic Church of the Assumption affected. Episodes date to January, after the High Court decision allowing the use of the word "Allah" even to define the Christian God.



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