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ICC Note: Tension between Malaysia’s Muslim majority and Christian minority have taken a sharp turn for the worse in recent years. Although reports of outright persecution are rare, there is a growing fear among Malaysian Muslims that Christianity is spreading too quickly and threatening Malaysia’s Muslims dominated society. Earlier this year Malaysia deported a Muslim blogger back home to Saudi Arabia to face almost certain imprisonment after he had fled the country for posting what appeared to be mild criticisms of Islam on Facebook. The event signaled a significant rise in the level of Islamic extremism in Malaysia.  This article details the uproar created by the public singing of a Christian song considered to be anti-Islamic. 
11/01/2012 Malaysia (CSW) – A Christian song from 2007 has stirred calls from the hard-line right-wing Malay Supremacy group Perkasa for all Muslims to boycott the singer, Jaclyn Victor. Her song in Malay, “Harapan Bangsa” (“Hope of the Nation”) was written by a pastor and is about peace in Malaysia. Perkasa, however, see the song as an insult to Islam, claiming the lyrics are insensitive and disrespectful to non-Christians.
The Malaysian Cabinet’s special interfaith panel has been evasive about whether to condemn Perkasa’s boycott call. Senator Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon only said, “I don’t want to comment on that. They can boycott as they like. It’s a free country ….”
The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia and the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture are investigating the lyrics of the song to see if, as Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said, it “really touches on the issue of faith (akidah)”.
Defending her right as a Christian to sing “Harapan Bangsa” in a multi-religious, multi-racial and multi-ethnic country where Christians comprise almost a tenth of the population, Victor said the song was not for commercial purposes, being recorded especially for Christians and churches in East Malaysia, where the Christian population is close to 40%. She added, “I am aware, maybe because the song was sung in the Malay language, [it] caused many to view this as insensitive and think that I am trying to spread Christian teachings.” But she continued by saying, “I sang in the Malay language because many Christians in Sabah and S
arawak speak in the Malay language.”

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