Rising Christian anger in Malaysia over Bible seizures

March 31, 2011
malay bible

(A Bible in the Malay language at a church in Kuala Lumpur March 30, 2011/Bazuki Muhammad )

Rising Christian anger in mainly Muslim Malaysia over the government’s handling of a case involving seized Bibles could complicate Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bid to win back the support of minorities ahead of an early general election. The row over 35,100 imported Malay language Bibles and Christian texts impounded by Customs authorities comes amid a legal battle on the right of non-Muslims to use the Arabic word “Allah” and could raise ethno-religious tensions in the country. The Bibles were seized in 2009 but the case was only made public in January.

“There has been a systematic and progressive pushing back of the public space to practise, to profess and to express our faith,” Bishop Ng Moon Hing, chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), said in a statement on Wednesday.

Christians make up 9.1 percent of the country’s 28 million population. Chinese and Indian non-Muslim ethnic minorities have abandoned the government, leading to record losses for Najib’s ruling coalition in the last national polls in 2008 and growing complaints of marginalisation.

The row signals continuing minority discontent that could stymie Najib’s bid to reverse the 2008 poll losses and to accelerate the implementation of tax and subsidy reforms, which have slowed due to the government’s wariness about upsetting voters.

“This issue will make it easier for the opposition to win additional seats,” said James Chin, a political analyst at the Monash University campus in Kuala Lumpur.

The “Allah” affair has been running since December 2009, when a Catholic publication was given the right to use the word, which led to attacks on houses of worship.

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Islam teaches respect of all religious leaders, scriptures and places of worship. Bible is a holy book and should be treated with great reverence.

It is against the teaching of Islam to persecute anyone for holding beliefs other than Islam.

It is unfortunate that the name of Islam is used to make political gains!

Posted by Umme_Ammara | Report as abusive

Time Magazine interview with Einstein regarding Christianty:

To what extent are you influenced by Christianity? “As a child I received
instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.”

You accept the historical existence of Jesus? “Unquestionably! No one can
read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality
pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life!”

Einstein in his 50s FYI!

Check out: Chip Ingrams “Why I believe” out of Atlanta (Living on the Edge)!! Very intellectually honest, funny and free to download through 4/3/11!! 3-4 hours of jaw dropping evidence for Christianity!! Just the facts-check it out, best I’ve heard in a lifetime of search!

Posted by DrJJJJ | Report as abusive

Malaysia’s government has the same fair share of difficult problems to address as any other country. Colossal amounts of tax money and human effort must be expended in order to deal with crime, environmental damage, mitigation of monsoon damage, etc…

Knowing how hard it is to govern the real world, it always bothers me to see precious resources being wasted on religious disputes. The only evidence I have seen that mysticism is real has been simple testimony, the bulk of which comes from a minimum of hundreds of years before standards of evidence were even a rigorous concept. Thanks to people like Kuhn, Popper, Carnap and others we now have good standards by which to judge the ‘reasonableness’ and utility of theories, both new and old, including that of mysticism.

The Malaysian King and Parliament would serve the country’s citizens well by amending their constitution to make Malaysia a secular country whose government maintains disinterest in religious affairs. Religions after all are predicated upon mysticism, and, due to the irrationality of mysticism a rational parliamentary debate about mystical concerns, (such as which mystical guidebook should be printed in what language), is simply impossible.

Malaysia’s constitution invites this kind of problem. It establishes “freedom of religion” while declaring Malaysia an Islamic state. Both history and the daily news show that eventually people get hurt when this degree of contradiction exists at this level.

Posted by b.better | Report as abusive

Not trying to be cynical, but the truth is:

if Malaysians had adopted the sensible attitudes of B.Better or Umme Ammara,
they would have chosen the Singaporean approach of
giving all religions, all races completely equal rights,
and a level plain field for competition.

Had that happened, Malaysia and Singapore, as one country, they could have been an economic power that rivals Japan. However, the country had not shown a track record of pragmatism, let alone sensibility.

Posted by CommonSensLogic | Report as abusive

Guess the Christians forgot to include the correct amount of grease for customs..live and learn….no one gets a free ride.

Posted by RayGunsmess | Report as abusive