Malaysian churches dismayed by ban on Bible

Posted: Friday, April 25, 2003

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Malaysian church leaders and lawyers have urged the government to lift a ban on a Bible in the Iban language.

The Malaysian Council of Churches, representing most Christian denominations in this nation, requested a meeting with the regime over the ban.

The Bible is widely used by churches in Malaysia's Sarawak state on Borneo island, where the Iban people are one of the largest indigenous groups.

The Home Ministry announced that this Bible was among 35 books banned effective immediately because they were considered detrimental to public peace. No details were given.

The Bar Council of Malaysia, a group of 10,000 lawyers, said the ban strikes at the heart of our way of life as Malaysians.''

Nearly 60 percent of Malaysia's people are Malay Muslims but there are large Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed in the constitution, though it is illegal to try to convert Muslims to other religions.

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