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Malaysia to draw up rules to regulate the importation of Christian materials

ICC Note:

There will be a new standard of operations at airports and customs that will monitor imports. This is likely a result of the seizure of  materials of a Christian clergyman in late October. Customs officials claim the materials were confiscated because they were “bulky and heavy.” The Christian pastor claims it was because they contained the word ‘Allah’

11/15/2014 Malaysia(Asia News)-The Malaysian government is drawing up a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the relevant authorities to prevent the unnecessary seizure of Christian religious material.

Sources in the Home Ministry said that SOPs were being prepared for use by various authorities, such as Customs and police.

“We hope the SOPs will be a reality soon,” said Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, lawmaker and minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, after handing over 130 religious books and 290 compact discs to the Protestant Church of Sabah (PCS) yesterday.

On 25 October, customs officials at Kuala Lumpur International Airport seized them from Rev Maklin Masiau, a pastor with the Protestant Church in Sabah, because they contained the word “Allah” as the God of the Bible.

The Lutheran minister was coming back from a trip to Medan, Indonesia. He had travelled abroad to get religious material for Protestant communities in Sabah to use for the upcoming Christmas celebrations and events.

According to Customs officials, checks were made not because of the ban on the use of the word “Allah” in the material but because they had noticed one piece of bulky luggage and wanted to inspect it further. Afterwards, they seized the material.

The Christian clergyman disagrees. In his view, his rights were violated and he was prepared for a protracted process of getting them back.

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