Raid on Malaysian Bible Society

Friday, January 17, 2014

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

KUALA LAMPUR, MALAYSIA(Worthy News)-- Aided by police, the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department raided the Bible Society of Malaysia offices in Damansara Kim near Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.

According to Morning Star News, Islamic Affairs confiscated more than 300 Malay Bibles and detained BSM President Lee Min Choon and office manager Sinclair Wong for questioning; both men were released on bail within hours and without being charged.

A Ten-Point Solution crafted by the Federal Government in 2011 had allowed Christians to both import and print Malay-language Bibles if the books bore a cross with "Christian publication" clearly printed on the cover. But Islamic Affairs may have been acting under Selangor's Non-Islamic Religions Enactment of 1988. The Enactment prohibits non-Muslims from using "Allah": an Arabic word for God in Islam's Quran that is also the Malay word for God found in the hundreds of Bibles seized during the raid.

The raid on BSM came shortly after the Rev. Lawrence Andrew told The Malaysian Insider that Catholics would continue to use "Allah" in its Malay-language worship services.

In a press release, the Christian Federation of Malaysia said the raid was a violation of the country's constitutional right to freedom of religion and an act of harassment against Christians in Malaysia.

"To allow one religion to be able to monitor and regulate how another religion is to be practiced is a distasteful recipe for disaster," said the Rev. Eu Hong Seng, chairman of the CFM.

Sunni Islam is the official religion of Malaysia; its population is 63 percent Muslim and just under 10 percent Christian.