Friday, March 11, 2011

30,000 Bibles Detained by Malaysian Gov't, Claim Christian Leaders

Christian leaders in Malaysia are sounding off against the government’s latest detention of imported scriptures, reporting that some 30,000 were recently being held.


The Christian Federation of Malaysia – which comprises the nation’s largest ecumenical, Evangelical, and Roman Catholic Christian bodies – announced Thursday that it is “greatly disillusioned, fed-up and angered by the repeated detention of Bibles written in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia.”

“Since March 2009, all attempts to import the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, i.e. the Alkitab, whether through Port Klang or the Port of Kuching, have been thwarted,” the umbrella organization stated, suggesting that the detentions are linked to the widely-publicized 2009 row over the translation of “God” in Bibles and other Christian publications.

In Malaysia, Christian publications were not allowed to use the word “Allah” to refer to God. The government contends the word “Allah” is exclusively for Islam and that the use of “Allah” in Christian publications could confuse Muslims and make Christian ideas more appealing to them.

Church officials, however, argue that Allah is not exclusive to Islam because it is an Arabic word that existed before the religion. They say "Allah" has been used for centuries to mean "God" in Malay.

On Dec. 31, 2009, two years after a lawsuit was filed against the government over its “Allah” ban, a Supreme Court judge agreed with members of the Malaysian Church, declaring that the word “Allah” is not exclusive to Islam and that the government’s Home Ministry is “not empowered” to ban non-Muslims from using the word.

Read More at Christian Post

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