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    » 01/20/2010, 00.00

    MALAYSIA

    Kuala Lumpur: 8 young men arrested for attack on a church



    They are suspected of having caused the fire and throwing stones against the church Metro Tabernacle, of the Assembly of God. Police are investigating their links with the other 10 attacks on places of worship, after the controversy on even Christians being allowed to use of the word Allah. The political exploitation of the Umno.

    Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Malaysian police have arrested eight youths on suspicion of burning of a church in the capital, the first in a series of attacks on Christian places of worship.  

    Bakri Zinin, chief of federal police investigator said that young people, 21 to 26 years, "are suspected of being involved in the criminal fire of the Metro Tabernacle Church”. The building, which belongs to the Assembly of God community, is located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. On January 8, some people threw stones and incendiary objects at the building resulting in serious damage.  Bakri Zinin also stated that the investigation will determine whether the young people themselves are linked to other attacks.

    In recent weeks, there were 10 other attacks against churches and places of worship in Malaysia after the one at Metro Tabernacle. The series of violence seems to have been unleashed after the High Court decision to allow non-Muslims to use the word "Allah" to define "God", on 31 December. This has caused the anger of local Islamic groups that defend the exclusive use of the word for Islam, accusing other religions (including Christians) of aiming to subtly proselytize. In fact the word "Allah" is commonly used by Christians throughout the Middle East and Indonesia. In Malaysia there is evidence of the Christian use of the term since the 17th century. The government supports the Islamic groups and has declared its intention to appeal against the decision of the court.

    According to analysts, government support to fundamentalist groups has electoral purposes. By aligning itself with them the majority party, the Umno, hopes to have more electoral support. The Islamic opposition party, Pas, advocates the use of speech for Christians and Jews.     

     

    A multiethnic country, Malaysia has about 25 million inhabitants. The majority is Malay and Muslim (60%). Then there are Chinese (25%) and Indians (8%). The Christians are 10%, Catholics 3.17%.

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    See also

    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.

    13/08/2010 MALAYSIA
    Two Muslim youths sentenced over Church fire
    In January, the Metro Tabernacle Church was attacked with stones and fire bombs. Now two young men have been sentenced to five years. The court also wanted to give a warning against interfaith attacks that exploded at that time.

    12/11/2008 MALAYSIA
    Evangelical Church goes to court against ban on using the word "Allah"
    The Evangelical Church of Malaysia has appealed to the supreme court following the recall of some of its magazines, in which the word "Allah" was used. The domestic security minister claims that "the publications can raise confusion and controversy in Malaysian society." Already at the beginning of the year, Catholics and Evangelicals had suffered the confiscation of newspapers and magazines for the same reason.

    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."

    04/01/2010 MALAYSIA
    Malaysian Supreme Court authorizes Christians to use the word Allah. Government appeals
    Minister for Religious Affairs: protecting the name of Allah from "insults and abuse." The website of the weekly Catholic Herald Malaysia attacked by hackers. The Director: guarantee the constitutional rights of freedom of religion and speech.



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