01/11/2010, 00.00
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New attack against Christians in Malaysia: the ninth in four days

Violence linked to the controversy on the use of the word Allah shows no sign of abating. Today a church in the central state of Negeri Sembilan was targeted. Yesterday, four other attacks against churches and Christian schools. Despite the violence, the faithful attended Sunday mass.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Another attack against a Christian building in Malaysia: today the temple of Sidang Injil Borneo, located in the central state of Negeri Sembilan, was targeted. Yesterday, four other places of worship or religious institutions were attacked by fundamentalists.  Since January 8 nine Christian buildings in total have been targeted. The episodes of violence are a response against the High Court decision of 31 December to authorize the weekly Catholic Herald to use the word "Allah" in its Malay language edition.  

Reverend Eddy Marson Yasir, of the church of Sidang Injil Borneo, reports that he was called by a member of his parish "who saw the door of the church on fire”. "There was smoke - he adds - but we were lucky, the flames did not spread."

Police sources confirmed four other attacks against Christian places of worship, which took place yesterday. The assailants threw Molotov cocktails against a church and a school run by religious orders in the state of Perak, they also hit a church in Sarawak on the island of Borneo, a fourth church in the south of the country, was defaced with black paint.  

Despite the violence, Christians yesterday wanted to attend Sunday services as usual. About 1,000 faithful heard a mass at the Catholic Church of Kuala Lumpur, one of the buildings attacked on 8 January. Fr. Phillis Muthu asked the faithful to be patient. "We do not want to blame - the priest says – any inhabitant, neighbourhood or religion. We are a peaceful community and we are here to offer our prayers for the nation”. The priest admitted to being "scared by the accidents," but added: "Life must go on."

Malaysia is a multi-cultural country, it has a population exceeding 23 million inhabitants, with a substantial presence of ethnic minorities, including Chinese and Indian. 60% are Muslim: Christians are about 10% of the population.


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