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Malaysia government sued over seized Christian CDs

ICC Note:

A Malaysian Christian whose Christian CDs were confiscated by Malaysian airport officials because of their use of the word “Allah” in non-Muslim religious material is now sueing the Malaysian government for violating her religious rights. The case is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at the end of January.

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11/28/08 Malaysia (IHT) A Malaysian Christian is suing the government for allegedly violating her religious rights after airport officials seized Christian educational CDs that she brought from Indonesia, the woman’s lawyer said.

The Home Ministry informed her in a letter that the CDs were seized mainly because their cover titles contained the word “Allah,” which is prohibited in non-Muslim religious material, Xavier said.

Ireland wants the Kuala Lumpur High Court to issue a declaration allowing her to transport any religious material for her own personal use, Xavier said.

The court on Thursday scheduled Jan. 30 for a preliminary hearing.

Malaysia’s constitution guarantees freedom of worship for non-Muslims, who make up more than one-third of the country’s 27 million people.

However, minority Buddhists, Christians and Hindus have increasingly voiced allegations of religious discrimination due to incidents in recent years such as the occasional demolition of Hindu temples by state authorities.

The government last year ruled that non-Muslims cannot use the word “Allah,” an Arabic word that is a synonym for “God” in Malaysia’s national language.

The ban has sparked criticism by Christians who use it to refer to God in their Malay-language Bible and other publications.

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