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  • » 03/12/2011, 00.00

    MALAYSIA

    Christians protest: government blocks 30 thousand Bibles in Malay



    The Christian Federation of Malaysia express the disappointment, anger and despair of Christians in a statement: "It would seem that the authorities are conducting an ongoing program, surreptitiously and systematically against Christians in Malaysia, denying them access to the Bible in the Malay language. " The block tied to the controversy on the use of the word "Allah" to refer to God

     Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The largest Christian organization in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, said it is "fed up" of the government's refusal to allow the distribution of tens of thousands of Bibles. It argues that it is an affront to religious freedom. It is a rare protest by the Christian Federation of Malaysia. It 's also a sign of growing impatience among the religious minorities, over the dispute, now years old, on the government ban on the use of the word "Allah" as a translation of the word "God" in the Bible and Christian religious texts in the Malay language.

    Federation president, Bishop Ng Moon Hing said that the authorities are holding 30 thousand copies of the Bible in Malay in a port of the island of Borneo. This is the latest attempt by Christians to import Bibles, particularly from Indonesia, after previous attempts failed. There are no problems for texts in English.

    The Federation has issued a statement in which says that "Christians are greatly disillusioned, tired and irritated" by the continuing blockade of Bibles. "It would seem that the authorities are conducting an ongoing program, surreptitiously and systematically against Christians in Malaysia, denying them access to the Bible in Malay language."

    The Interior Ministry has not responded. The government on similar occasions in the past has admitted that there was a prohibition, but argued that it was the fault of the importer who had failed to fulfil certain formalities. In reality the problem stems from the government's position that the use of the term 'Allah' in non-Muslim texts might confuse Muslims, and even lead to conversion to Christianity. Almost two thirds of the 28 million people are Malay Muslims, while 25% are Chinese and 8% are Indians. Ethnic minorities are overwhelmingly Christians, Buddhists and Hindus.

    In December 2009 a court ruled that Christians have the constitutional right to use the terme "Allah". The government has appealed against the verdict, but no hearing has yet been set. The Court's decision in January 2010 caused temporary tensions, and anger of Muslim extremists. Eleven churches were attacked. The Catholic Church has reissued a Latin- Malaysian dictionary more than 400 years old to prove the ancient use of the word "Allah” in a Christian sense in the country. (22/01/2011 400 year-old Malaysian-Latin Dictionary: proof of use of the word Allah)

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    See also

    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.

    22/01/2011 MALAYSIA
    400 year-old Malaysian-Latin Dictionary: proof of use of the word Allah
    Christians in Malaysia still can not use the word "Allah" to refer to God, because the Ministry of the Interior has requested a suspension of sentence in favour of a Catholic newspaper. The Church has reissued a dictionary from 1622 as evidence of the use of "Allah" well before the twentieth century, contrary to Muslims claims.

    25/02/2009 MALAYSIA
    Malaysian government defeated by history: Christians have used the word "Allah" for centuries
    On February 27, the diocese of Kuala Lumpur is going to court against the government, which has prohibited the use of the term for reasons of safety. But the Constitution and history are on the side of the Christians. The Minister of the Interior has given permission to use the word "Allah," but only if the phrase "for Christians only" is printed on the cover.

    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.

    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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