07/08/2010, 00.00
MALAYSIA
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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.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The trial of three young Muslim men accused of having bombed and set fire to of Metro Tabernacle Church in the capital in January is in its second day.

On the night between 7 and 8 January, an explosion damaged the administrative offices of Metro Tabernacle Church. Soon after, three other Christian places of worship, including the Catholic Church of the Assumption in Petaling Jaya, were attacked (see Malaysia: Four Christian churches attacked over controversy on the use of "Allah")

Several other incidents against places of worship followed; 7 churches, a Sikh temple, two mosques and three Islamic places of worship. The incidents seem to have been provoked by the country's High Court decision to allow a Catholic newspaper use of the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God.

Two of the defendants, and Raja Muhd Faizal and Raja Muhd Idzham, are brothers and the third, Azuwan Sahah Ahmad is a friend. They were arrested after one of them turned up at the ER for treatment of some severe burns. Their lawyer claims they are innocent.

If convicted, the three face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The prosecutor has prepared 25 witnesses, including several policemen, a fireman and eyewitnesses, who saw a group of youths on a motorbike arriving at the Metro Tabernacle Church minutes before the explosion and fire. Two days ago, six witnesses were heard, yesterday three others, including the doctor who treated one of the accused.

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