Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Sunday, March 9th, 2014
For years, Malaysia has been widely accepted to be a Muslim-majority nation with a high level of tolerance for religious minorities. This status has, however, deteriorated over the past several years to the point that Malaysia's Christians are now seriously concerned about their rights. The legal battle currently in Malaysia's courts over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Christians has become a flash point for anti-Christian sentiment. In 2010, several churches were firebombed after the government ruled in favor of religious minorities. Today the case is again in the courts, sparking fear that more attacks could ensue.
Friday, March 7th, 2014
A seven judge panel this week announced they would adjourn Malaysia's controversial court case on the use of the word "Allah" to a "later date." The ruling came as hundreds of Muslims protested outside the courthouse, demanding that the Arabic word for God be limited by law to only Muslim use. Malay Christians have been using the Arabic word for God as far back as four hundred years ago. The issue has become the focal point of intolerance towards Christians and other minority faiths in a country that was once known for its peaceful coexistence of a diverse group of religions.
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
For years, ICC has monitored the gradual rise of radical Islam in the Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia. While religious freedom is ostensibly protected by the government, recent events indicate that anti-Christian sentiment is rising in the country and many Christians fear that they are being stripped of their rights. Last year a court ruling made it illegal for non-Muslims to use the Arabic word for God, "Allah", sparking a raid on a Bible society and the brief detention of its president. Malay Christians have used the Arabic word to describe God for several centuries.
Monday, February 10th, 2014
On Friday, cemetery workers in Pahang State, Malaysia, discovered that vandals had smashed several gravestones and broken several crosses at the Christian cemetery. The vandalism comes only a few weeks after attackers hurled small bombs at a Christian church in Penang and inflammatory banners appeared overnight in front of several churches. Christians, who are a minority in the country, fear that radical Islam has grown increasingly prevalent in the Muslim-majority nation. A recent court ruling also banned non-Muslims from using the Arabic word for God, "Allah," although the word has been used in Malay copies of the Bible for centuries. The ban led to the raid of a Christian Bible society and the brief detention of the Society's president.
Monday, January 27th, 2014
Two small bombs were hurled from the back of motorbike at a church in the Northern half of the Malaysian peninsula on Sunday night in an attack reminiscent of the violence faced by Christians in the country in 2010. Only one bomb exploded and no one was injured. In addition banners mocking the use of the word "Allah" by Christians in the country appeared overnight in front of three churches. The attacks mark an alarming new level in the controversy over the use of the Arabic word for God by non-Muslims. The controversy is partially a gauge for the consistently rising level of intolerance towards minority faiths as radical Islamic theology spreads in the country.
Sunday, January 26th, 2014
The heated controversy over the use of the Arabic word for God, "Allah", has swept across Malaysia for the past several weeks after a court ruled non-Muslims would not be allowed to use the word. The subsequent raid of a Christian Bible Society and the brief arrest of the society's president alarmed many of the nations Christian communities. In early 2010, controversy over the same issue sparked several attacks, including bombings, of churches in Malaysia. Minority religious communities are worried that the government is gravitating towards more radical Islamic parties to garner political support.
Friday, January 24th, 2014
Father Andrew Lawrence, the founder of a small Catholic newspaper, has become the focal point of a controversy over the use of the Arabic word "Allah" by Christians. A recent court ruling involving his newspaper, The Herald, made the use of the word by non-Christians illegal. A few weeks later a raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia led to the brief arrest of the president of the Bible society and the confiscation of hundreds of Bibles. Now Malaysia is embroiled in controversy as Christians and other religious minorities fear their rights are being eroded with the spread of radical Islamic ideology.
Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
The heated debate over the use of the Arabic word for God, 'Allah', in Malaysia has revealed just how far the nation is willing to go in catering towards radical Islamic groups. The word has been used in Malay language versions of the Bible for hundreds of years, yet recently legal challenges arose, demanding that Christians and other religious minorities stop using the word to describe God. A raid on the Bible society of Malaysia and the brief arrest of its president has caused many in the nations 9 million strong Christian community to express fear over the direction their country is heading.
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
On January 2, the Islamic Affairs Department of Selangor, Malaysia, raided the offices of the Bible Society of Malaysia and arrested the president along with a member of the society's staff. The authorities also confiscated several hundred Bibles. The incident has sparked an outcry from Christians across Malaysia who have warned that the nation's Muslims population is becoming increasingly radicalized.
Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Malaysian authorities this week interrogated Father Andrew Lawrence, editor of Catholic weekly The Herald, as wells as dozens of others in an apparent attempt to intimidate Christians closely involved in the "Allah" controversy. The Herald is at the center of a court case spearheaded by the Malaysian government which recently ruled that it is illegal for non-Muslims to use the Arabic word for God, "Allah." Late last week police seized hundreds of copies of Malay language Bibles and briefly arrested two members of the Malaysian Bible Society. Father Lawrence spoke out against the seizure, which may have led to the current investigation into his acts as "sedition." These alarming developments are part of a long-term trend of increasing radicalization the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian state.
Monday, January 6th, 2014
A recent ruling by a Malaysian court banning the use of the Arabic word for God, "Allah", by non-Muslims has stoked simmering tensions between Muslims in Christians in the Southeast Asian nation. Last week authorities seized more than 300 Bibles and arrested two members of a Bible society as a part of the new ruling. Muslim groups are also threatening to hold protests at churches across the country if Christians do not drop their attempts to appeal the ruling. Christian literature in the Malay language has used the Arabic word for God for several hundred years.
Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
In Malaysia, a controversy has been raging over the use of the Arabic word for God, "Allah", and it's use by the Christian minority in literature. Christians in Malaysia have used the word for hundreds of years, but since the government ordered a Catholic newspaper to stop using the word in 2009, a series of legal battles and attacks on churches in early 2010 have made it an extremely sensitive issue. Today, authorities seized hundreds of Bibles and detained the president of the Bible Society of Malaysia, justifying their actions by referring to a "state law" which prohibits the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims. ICC will continue to follow these events and offer assistance to Christians in Malaysia as necessary.
Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Conditions for Malaysia's approximately three million conditions appear to be growing gradually worse as the government holds firm on its decision to ban religious minorities in the country from using the Arabic word "Allah" to refer to God. Christians in the country have been using the word for more than a century and are rightfully concerned that the government is dictating what type of vocabulary can be used by religious groups. Coupled with outright political campaigning by the current government which promised to solidify the role of the state as the "defender of Islam" and even anti-Christian advertisements, the countries faithful feel that levels of intolerance are reaching dangerous proportions.
Monday, November 25th, 2013
Christian congregations in two Malaysian states have pledged to continue to use the Arabic word 'Allah' to refer to God despite the possibility that a recent court ruling in the country may result in prosecution for using the word. The debate over the use of 'Allah' to refer to God by anyone other than Muslims has threatened to deepen divides between religious groups in the country. In late 2009, early 2010, a court ruled to protect the right of Christians and other faiths to use the word. The ruling sparked violent protests and at least ten churches were attacked. A court recently overturned that right, leading Christians to fear that their religious freedom will be increasingly curtailed in the Muslim-majority nation.
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Recent edicts in Malaysia have forbidden the use of the word Allah by Christians, and some have encouraged Christian sot recognize the supremacy of Islam or emigrate. This trend is opposed by Christians, human rights activists, and Classical Liberals in Malaysia. The Malyasian Insider reports that a parliamentary effort to restore Christian rights was rejected.
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
ICC Note: In a statement made this morning the prime minister of Malaysia, Datuk Razak, promised to continue to defend the the name of "Allah", a statement which may add more fuel to a divisive issue that has Christians and other religious minorities fearful for their human rights. A Malaysian court recently banned the use of the word "Allah" by a Catholic Newspaper even though the Arabic word for God has been used by Christians in the Malay language for several hundred years. In late 2009, when the same Catholic Newspaper originally won the right to continue using the word, violent protests ensued and at least 10 churches were attacked. The current prime minister also won re-election on a campaign that featured anti-Christian posters. The posters showed pictures of churches and said "Do you want your grand children to grow up in this kind of mosque?"
Friday, November 1st, 2013
A new court ruling in Malaysia blocking the use of the Arabic word for God, 'Allah', has quickly been enforced by officials of the Malaysian Home Ministry. Last week 2,000 copies of the Catholic Herald, the newspaper that served as the focal point of the 'Allah' case, were seized at a local airport and checked for any misuse of the word. The copies were later released under pressure from a Christian member of parliament, but the incident has alarmed the Christian population of Malaysia which is increasingly concerned with the imposition of more radical Islamic values on Malaysian society.
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
In the latest development over the use of the word "Allah" by Christians, the Malaysian government has halted the delivery of 2,000 copies of a Catholic newspaper. Earlier this month a Malaysian court ruled that the Arabic word for God could not be used by non-Muslims, despite the fact that the Malay language version of the Bible has been using the term for several hundred years. The court decision sparked fears that the Islamic population of Malaysia is becoming increasingly radicalized, which may lead to even more restrictions on the rights of religious minorities.
Thursday, October 24th, 2013
In public comments made on Monday at a political "congress", Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Tun Razak attempted to calm concerns faced by the nearly 3 million Christians in Malaysia after a court ruling banned the use of the Arabic word for God, "Allah", from being used by non-Muslims. The Prime Minister said the ban only applied to the Catholic Newspaper sued in the case, saying Christians could continue to use the word and that Malay language Bibles which use the term would not be banned. In late 2009 and early 2010 approximately ten churches were attacked and even bombed by Islamic groups angry over the victory of the Catholic Newspaper, which originally won it's case to use the word to refer to God by the term "Allah". The issue has become a flash-point for rising tensions between religious minorities and what appears to be an increasingly radicalized Islamic population.
Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
In an unfortunate turn of events for the more than 2 million Christians living in Malaysia, a local court has ruled that Christians will no longer be allowed to use the word 'Allah' to refer to God. According to the Vatican, Christians in Malaysia have been using the word 'Allah' to refer to God for nearly 400 years. The courts decision comes after heavy pressure was exerted by radical Islamist groups who view the growth of Christianity in Malaysia as a threat to Malaysian culture. In late 2009, a court had ruled in favor of Christians using the word 'Allah', sparking protests and bombings at churches around the country. The Malaysian government stepped in to quell the protests by appealing the court decision. Christians in country have said they will appeal the decision to a higher court.
Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
News from Malaysia seems to indicate that radical Islamic viewpoints are slowly taking hold of the country. Christian observers fear that the rights of Christians in Malaysia may be slowly eroded and the threat of violence over the use of the word "Allah" by Christians is ever-present. Calls for a "Holy Struggle" against Christians on this issue has seriously alarmed many.
Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Courts are set to deliver a decision on Christian’s right to use the word Allah to speak of God. The case arose over a dispute with a Christian magazine who was opposed by Islamic groups. The case has become a battleground for religious freedom in this country and the level of government interference with religious.
Sunday, September 8th, 2013
While Malaysia remains a far more tolerant Islamic society than many in the Middle East, Christians do occasionally face serious discrimination. Recently a debate in the courts over allowing Christians to continue using the Arabic word 'Allah' to refer to the Christian God has sparked fear that violence over the issue in 2010 could be reignited. The following blog article details the story of one church that forgave their attackers after being firebombed in 2010 and is now thriving.
Saturday, August 24th, 2013
In a move that could potentially destabilize relations between the minority Christian community and radical Islamic political groups, a court has ruled against the motion by the Catholic church to dismiss a challenge which would prevent the Church from using the Arabic word for God, "Allah", in publications. The debate over the use of the word has become a hot button issue after the Church was granted the right to use it by the courts back in 2009, setting off attacks, including bombings, of Christian churches. Catholic leaders fear more violence may be in store if the debate continues to rage on. "Allah" has been used in the Malay language translation of the Bible to describe God for nearly 400 years.
Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
In a potentially incendiary comment the Home Minister of Malaysia has publicly stated that the Arabic word for God, Allah, can only be used by Muslims. The issue over the use of the word, which has been printed in Malay language versions of the Bible for almost 400 years, sparked attacks on churches in Malaysia back in 2009 and 2010. Currently a court case is pending over the legality of Christians using the word.
Monday, August 12th, 2013
In Malaysia Christians have been using the Arabic word for God, 'Allah', in their translation of the Bible since 1612. In recent years more radical Islamic groups have taken serious issue with this and demanded Christians stop using the word and discard any Bibles using the word as well. In 2009 a Malaysian court ruled that a Catholic newspaper could continue to use the word 'Allah' to describe God, setting off a series of protests and attacks on churches. Later it was discovered that the government has been impounding shipments of Bibles into Malaysia. The Prime Minister issued a "ten point plan" that Christians believe gives them the right to continue using their translation of the Bible, however the government is continuing in the courts to appeal the Catholic churches right to use the word "Allah." In this article one Archbishop argues for why the government should drop its case.
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
Two weeks ago Muslim activists took to the streets outside of the Vatican’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to demand the expulsion of Archbishop Joseph Marino, calling him an “Enemy of the State.” How did a senior Catholic clergyman manage to incur such popular resentment so quickly? By having the audacity to describe arguments in support of Christians using the word “Allah” for God as “logical and acceptable.”
Thursday, July 25th, 2013
In yet another reported incident of discrimination against non-Muslims coming out of Malaysia, the media recently discovered that non-Muslim children in a primary school were being forced to eat their lunches in the bathroom during Ramadan. Non-Muslim pupils are normally made up of Christian or Hindu students. The discovery has been widely condemned by Muslims in Malaysia, including the Minster of Education, who promised an investigation. The incident is another alarming indicator that discrimination against non-Muslims in Malaysia, which includes several million Christians, is rising in the country.
Sunday, July 21st, 2013
In an escalation of the conflict in Malaysia over the use of the word "Allah" by Christians, Muslim groups have called for the removal of Archbishop Joseph Marino, the Vatican's first envoy to the country, to be recalled by Rome. The Archbishops mistake appears to simply have been calling arguments in favor of the use of Allah by Christians "logical and acceptable." This spurred a strong reaction from Islamic groups accusing the Archbishop in meddling in internal Malaysian affairs. In Malaysia, Christians often face discrimination, especially over the use of the Arabic word "Allah" in the Malay language version of the Bible that has been used for centuries in the country.