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  • » 04/29/2014, 00.00

    MALAYSIA - ISLAM

    Pahang: Ignore letter to remove Bibles from hotel rooms, Malaysian lawyers tell hoteliers




    Lawyers urged hotel managers not to comply with the directive from the Muip. In a recent directive it prohibits to place religious reading materials of other religions other than Islam (like Bibles) in their rooms. The council had no jurisdiction over them. But it’s a sign of a growing religious intolerance. 


    Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Lawyers have urged hoteliers in Pahang - third largest state in Malaysia - to ignore the directive from the state Islamic council to remove non-Muslim (like Bible) religious materials from their premises as it has no authority over such matters. The constitutional and administrative lawyers said the Pahang Islamic and Malay Customs Council (Muip) was not in any position to penalize any individual or company as hoteliers were not licensed by religious bodies. They were responding to a recent directive from Muip prohibiting hotel proprietors in the state from placing religious reading materials of other religions other than Islam in their rooms. 

    Lawyer Razlan Hadri Zulkifli said hoteliers could just ignore the letter because the council had no jurisdiction over them. "They cannot raid to seize any non-Muslim religious material like the Bible," he told The Malaysian Insider.

    It was reported that the state religious body had sent a letter to 147 hotels across the state since March 6, warning that those who defied the directive could be subjected to legal action. If convicted, those involved could be fine up to RM5,000 or jailed for up to two years, or both.

    Razlan said the council could be hauled to court if its officers conducted raids to seize non-Muslim religious books and literature. "The council as a public authority can be subjected to a judicial review and the court can make a declaration that its action was illegal," he said.

    The anti-Christian attacks, which included the seizure of 300 Bibles last January, stems from the controversial judgment of an appeal court last October, banning the Malaysian Catholic weekly Herald to use the word "Allah". Following the ruling, some officials of the Ministry of Interior have blocked two thousand copies of the magazine of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur at the airport in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah state. The seizure was "justified" by the need to verify whether the publication was "compliant" to the order issued by magistrates and "whether there was an unlawful use of the word Allah".

    In Malaysia, a nation of more than 28 million people, mostly Muslims (60 per cent), Christians are the third largest religious group (after Buddhists) with more than 2.6 million members. A Latin-Malay dictionary published 400 years ago shows that the word Allah was already in use to describe the Biblical God in the local language.

     

     

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    See also

    05/04/2014 MALAYSIA - ISLAM
    Selangor, Christians demand Islamic authorities return confiscated Bibles
    The Christian Federation of Malaysia and the Bible Society demand the restitution of 300 copies of the Bible confiscated earlier this year by the Islamic Department. Central and local government remain indifferent to the minority’s demands. Christian leader: Government is playing the "blame game" with our rights.

    31/03/2011 MALAYSIA
    Malaysian Christians say no to discriminatory government slogans on Bible
    Malay language Bibles still under lock and key, because the government wants to limit to Muslims the use of the word "Allah" for God. A ruling rejects their decision, but in Kuala Lumpur pushes ahead with a policy of progressive restriction of religious freedom.

    05/02/2008 MALAYSIA
    Christians: The government must clearly outlaw the confiscation of religious material
    Bishop Tan, president of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, is intervening today in the case of the confiscation of 32 Bibles carried out at the airport of Putrajaya by a client services employee. The authorities have apologised, and have promised to give the material back to its owner, but the Bishop is asking for more: Kuala Lumpur must issue "a directive that would ban these episodes that are contrary to religious freedom".

    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.

    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.



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