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  • » 12/19/2012, 00.00

    MALAYSIA - ISRAEL

    Malaysia removes restrictions on Christian pilgrims to Holy Land



    The ceiling on the number of pilgrims is removed; it was 700. The number of days is extended to 21 days from 7. Before, each Church could only bring f 40 people. For Catholic priest, the change brings happiness ahead of the festivity.

    Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agenzie) - Malaysian authorities have lifted quotas and other restrictions on Christians who want to travel to Israel and the Holy Land. The decision was taken in November but was made public only as applications for travel to Jerusalem went up. It comes after a long feud between the government and minority Christians and might affect next year's election.

    Predominantly Muslim Malaysia bars travel to Israel but the government has previously allowed Christians to travel to the historic city regarded as holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

    According to the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), the government imposed a quota of 700 pilgrims per year, with any one church only allowed to send a group of 40.

    But a letter sent from Prime Minister Najib Razak's office to CFM president Ng Moon Hing on 28 November said these limits no longer applied save that visits could be for a maximum 21 days.

    Following the controversy over the use of Allah also for the Christian God, a case decided in Christians' favour in court, Malaysia's Christian minority has had to face a period of difficulties, tensions and violence, including attacks against its churches and buildings.

    With restrictions gone, some peace of mind has come to them on the eve of Christmas celebrations.

    "We are grateful we can once again go to worship in the Holy Land," said Fr Lawrence Andrew, former Herald Malaysia editor of Malaysia's only Catholic weekly.

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    See also

    13/07/2010 HOLY LAND
    More pilgrimages to the Holy Land “due to pilgrims from Asia,” says Fr Pizzaballa
    The first half of 2010 sets a new record. More than a million pilgrims or 39 per cent more than a year before come to the Holy Land. For the Custodian of the Holy land, the increase strengthens local Christian communities.

    31/10/2016 17:35:00 HOLY LAND
    Opening Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem uncovers the original form of the Holy Sepulchre

    A team of researchers from the University of Athens has removed the slab on the Holy Sepulchre. The latter will remain open for three days. After decades of waiting, experts will be able to examine the fill material and bedrock where Christ's body was laid. Meanwhile, restoration of the Edicule continues. Everything should be completed by March 2017.



    21/09/2017 15:49:00 HOLY LAND
    For Mgr Marcuzzo, the attack against St Stephen’s Church in Beit Jimal is a sign of fanaticism

    The Salesian place of worship is located 27 km west of Jerusalem. The attackers caused huge damage, breaking statues and stained glass. The heads of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land condemned the attack. For the Vicar to Jerusalem, the act of vandalism “fits in with the pattern of past incidents”.



    23/08/2005 HOLY LAND
    Eastern Churches react positively to the election of Teophilus
    The election of the new Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem is greeted by many Churchmen in the Holy Land as liberation from the dictatorship of Ireneos I. The newly-elected Patriarch says he is "indifferent" to Israel's views about his appointment.

    20/12/2016 12:48:00 HOLY LAND
    Msgr. Pizzaballa: At Christmas the faithful of Asia and Russia revive pilgrimages to the Holy Land


    The Apostolic Administrator refers to a "substantial increase" of the faithful visiting the holy places. Chinese and Indonesian "want to pray" and deal "with the local community." Pilgrimages are safe. To heal the wounds in the Middle East serves justice accompanied by mercy. Encounter with a people and a wounded community the reasons for renewed hope.

     





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