Rescuing and serving persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note: 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. 
2/12/2014 Malaysia (AsiaNews) – Catholic and Protestant Churches around the world have expressed their support for Christian leaders in Malaysia, who have come under attack and increasing pressure as a trial approaches against non-Muslim Malaysians using the word Allah.
The World Methodist Council (WMCI) is the latest body to express its solidarity, shocked and dismayed by the Court of Appeal’s ruling in October to bar the Catholic weekly, Herald, from using the word.
In a letter addressed to the Christian Federation of Malaysia, WMC general secretary Bishop Ivan Abrahams wrote that the decision was a “rather troubling” attempt by the courts in Malaysia to allow one religion to take ownership over a universal term.
The World Methodist Council represents over 80 million people, spread over 130 countries around the world.
“The verdict has the possibility to create unnecessary division between Christians and Muslims in Malaysia,” Bishop Abrahams said.
The prelate further noted that the use of the word God in a believer’s mother tongue was “not something that authorities should be seen as politicising”.
The children of Abraham share the same God, and a claim to exclusive ownership over the name would constitute a divisive action.
The prayers of millions of WMC members follow the solidarity expressed last week by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which stated in a letter, “This is not just a matter of faith, but also a reality of history and language.”
ELCA leaders slammed Malaysian authorities for last month’s raid when they seized 300 copies of the Bible.
Even the United Nations weighed in on the Allah issue in Malaysia, when its Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, called on the Malaysian government to reverse the court’s decision to ban the Catholic weekly from using the word.

[Full Story]