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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Via Dolorosa…The Journey of Christians In Malaysia

As the journey in this season of Lent continues, I read of a shocking report describing another subtle and shameful “persecution” faced by the Christian communities in Malaysia, a country in South East Asia, this present day. 

I would like to take some time to share this with the rest of the world.

Obviously, the massive earthquake and destructive effects of the tsunami hitting Japan has not woken up the hardened and corrupted hearts of the powers-that-be in the ruling government of Malaysia. 

In fact, certain local controlled media even had the nerve to publish (subsequently apologized) insulting cartoons poking fun of this most catastrophic tsunami, claiming thousands of innocent lives.

This self-professed developed country officials obviously does not understand the meaning of the word 'empathy' and neither do they see solidarity of the ONE human race!!

Such blatant acts of defacing and desecrating the inspired holy Word of God and marginalising against the Christian communities in Malaysia must be made known to the rest of the world so that the global Christian family can pray in solidarity for the ultimate reform in freedom of worship for all religions in Malaysia.

I quote the recent article from the online alternative news portal, The Malaysian Insider below.

This is testimony of the nature of the cross that Christians must carry in a shameful country such as this…their journey of the Way Of The Cross, hence, becomes very real daily...

KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) was told today that its shipment of 5,100 Malay bibles seized at Port Klang had already been stamped with the home ministry’s official seal without its prior permission.

“At 5pm today, KDN informed Bible Society of Malaysia that they had already chopped the bibles and asked Bible Society of Malaysia to come collect the bibles,” the importer said in a statement to The Malaysian Insider, calling the home ministry by its Malay initials.

Bible Society of Malaysia is alarmed by the defacement of the Christian bible by non-Christians chopping it with words that the Christians have not accepted or agreed to,” it added.

The BSM had earlier today refused to collect its cargo of holy books that had been detained for the last two years after the home ministry imposed two conditions for their release.

The society was stunned that home ministry officials had moved to act on their own and only notified BSM after the act, and called on the ministry to immediately put a stop to it.

As the bible is the holy book of the Christians, due respect should be given to it by consulting the relevant Christian representative organs before any external text is inserted into the bibles.

“Bible Society of Malaysia calls upon KDN to stop chopping the copies of the Alkitab detained at Port Kelang [sic],” it said in the statement issued today.

Church leaders have stressed that they cannot follow the conditions imposed by the ministry, as it would mean desecrating their own holy book.

A separate shipment of 30,000 Malay bibles worth RM78,000 imported by the Sarawak branch of global Christian group, The Gideons, was also seized at Kuching port.

It is not known if they have been subjected to the same treatment as BSM’s cargo.

The Sarawak importer had said it too was refusing to collect the Alkitab for the same reasons as the BSM.

The Malaysian Insider understands Sarawak home ministry officials had earlier contacted the importer to collect their holy books and carry out the stamping on their own.

Both importers are seeking advice from national church leaders on the matter.

BSM reminded the home ministry of its previous agreement made with the Christian community and repeated in an official letter dated December 22, 2005 “that Christians are permitted to have access to their holy book in the Bahasa Malaysia language provided that the sign of the cross and the words ‘Penerbitan Kristian’ are respectfully imprinted by Christians themselves”.

The society urged the home ministry to honour that agreement.

Yesterday, the importers each received a notice from the home ministry’s Publications Control and Quranic Text Division secretary, Datuk Zaitun Ab Samad, informing them of the two conditions imposed for the release.

The first requires the importers to directly stamp on the cover of each of the 35,000 copies the following words: “Peringatan: ‘Al Kitab Berita Baik’ ini untuk kegunaan penganut agama Kristian sahaja. Dengan perintah Menteri Dalam Negeri.”

[In English: “Reminder: This ‘Al Kitab Berita Baik’ is for the use of Christians only. By order of the Home Minister.”]

The cover of the Alkitab would be stamped with the department’s official seal and dated as well.

The second condition requires the importers to stamp a serial number on each copy, as if to demarcate copies from the released shipment and to enable the book to be traced back to the port of import.

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