Confiscation of English Bibles in Malaysia

For some background, check this post The Holy Bible – A Possible Threat To Internal Security?

I believe some of my Muslim friends would be equally appalled by what has happened. The possible reaction I’d imagine hearing is, “What on earth do these officers think they are doing?”

The following is the official press release from the Council of Churches of Malaysia.

Confiscation of English Bibles in Malaysia

It has been brought to our attention that a Malaysian Christian has suffered much spiritual anguish and indignation as she had her English Bibles confiscated by the Custom Officers at the airport (LCCT) recently, when she returned from a visit to Manila, Philippines.

The Custom Officer had insisted that the English Bibles had to be sent to the Internal Security Ministryís Control Division of Publications and Al-Quran Texts (Bahagian Kawalan Penerbitan dan Teks Al-Quran), for clearance.

The Council of Churches is flabbergasted that such acts are happening in our country with such frequency and impunity.

We want to state categorically that the Bible is Holy Scripture for Christians. No authority on earth should deny Christians the right to possess, read and travel with their Bibles.

The Council of Churches calls for the immediate release of the Bibles with an official apology by
the Custom Department of Malaysia.

We call upon the Prime Minister, who is also the Internal Security Minister to make a clear and unequivocal statement to assure Christians in the country that they will not be subject to such harassment and that their holy books will not be subject to the scrutiny of the Control Division of Publications and Al-Quran Texts of the Internal Security Ministry.

For a country that has celebrated, cultivated and sustained fifty years of religious freedom and harmonious living between all faith communities, this latest episode is another example of how the unilateral actions of certain government agencies are undermining the governmentís stated claims of protecting religious freedom in the country.

Rev. Dr. Hermen Shastri,
General Secretary
Council of Churches of Malaysia
4th February 2008.

About Sivin Kit

man of one wife, father of four kids
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