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Catholic Church in Malaysia grows, despite Islamic pressure


ICC Note: In Kota Kinabalu, Catholics are nearly 10% of the population. Many churches increase the number of Masses to cope with the influx of the faithful. Islam is spreading at a faster speed, especially due to social pressure: non-Muslims are considered inferior.


by Jeremy Lim


8/17/10 Malaysia (AsiaNews) – Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, capital of Sabah, is growing where the faithful are now more than 180 thousand, nearly 10% of the population. Sabah is one of 13 states of Malaysia and is situated in the northern part of Borneo.



Alongside the Catholic community, Islam is also spreading: “There are two reasons – Chin continues – for which Muslims are growing more rapidly. On one side they have more children, one the other many members the Kazadan ethnic group, who have been Catholic since the arrival of missionaries in the 19th century, converted for political reasons”.


In Malaysia, the state religion is Islam, religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution, although there are several violations of this right. In fact, says Chin, “many people are inclined to convert to Islam” because of social pressure that is brought to bear on non-Muslims, who are considered inferior.


Out of a population of 23 million inhabitants, 60.4% in Malaysia are Muslims and only 9.1% are Christians, mostly Catholics. The vast majority of those living on the island of Borneo where the State of Sabah is located.



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