Stamp Featuring Church Sparks Controversy in Malaysia

05/20/2019 Malaysia (International Christian Concern) – Postage stamps highlighting a famous local church, amid growing tension between the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and Malay Muslim groups, spark controversy in the Muslim-majority nation.

Strait Times reports, Malay rights group Isma, or Malaysia Muslim Solidarity group, said the issuing of a new stamp bearing a Christian symbol was “another example of Muslims being bullied” since PH came to power last May.

Isma president Aminuddin Yahaya said on Facebook: “So, if outsiders label Malaysia as a Christian nation, we should not be angered because we have been portrayed as such.”

According to Pos Malaysia, the post office, however, these stamps showing prominent places of worship in the country – a mosque, Buddhist and Hindu temples, a Sikh gurdwara and a church – were first issued in November 2016. This was well before PH came to power. The new series of five stamps was issued on May 11.

A landmark building of one of the five main religions in Malaysia was selected to be featured on each stamp, including the St George’s Church in Penang, which was singled out by the Isma chief.

In response to Yahaya, Malaysia’s de facto Islamic Affairs Minister, Mr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, has urged the Muslim community to stand up against the “corrupt narratives” of certain groups or individuals, as such thinking does not promote Islam.

“The whole Muslim society must stand up against these thoughts which will lead Muslims and Malays into backwardness,” Mr Mujahid said in Penang last Friday evening, as quoted by the Malaysiakini news site.

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