Seizing of Bibles sparks fear of persecution

Text from a Malaysian Bible.

Malaysia – Authorities seized more than 15,000 Bibles in recent months because the Bibles used an Arabic word for God.

Under Malaysian law, the word Allah is exclusive to Islam and may not be used by any other religion, including Christianity.

The Bibles used the word Allah in reference to God.

So authorities began seizing Bibles imported from Indonesia, a country whose large Christian community – about 37 million – produces literature for Malaysian support.

This year’s seizures began in March.

The Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry seized 5,100 Bibles, ordered by the Bible Society, as well as CDs and Sunday school materials.

On September 11, the same ministry detained 5,000 Indonesia Testaments and 5,000 Indonesia/English bilingual Testaments.

The Bibles were sent by Gideons International.

Malaysian Christians fear the seizures are a sign of future discrimination and persecution.

Only nine per cent of the population is Christian. Sixty per cent is Muslim.

Malaysian Christians also fear the seizures will cut off their supply of Christian literature from Indonesia.

The seizures appear to be an ongoing problem.

In 2007, Malaysian authorities suspended publication of The Herald, a Catholic publication, because it, too, used the term Allah.

The Herald has since faced ongoing court battles.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is asking Canadian Christians to write the Hon. Lawrence Cannon, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, on the issue and pray for Malaysian authorities and Christian leaders.

A copy of the letter, which advocates religious freedom, is available at

Posted By: Matthew Block
Posted On: December 2, 2009
Posted In: International News,

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