- POSTED: 02 Jan 2014 22:58
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Malaysian authorities have raided the office of the Malaysian Bible Society, seizing over 300 copies of the Bible in the Malay and Iban languages as they reportedly used the Arabic word, "Allah", to refer to God.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian authorities have raided the office of the Malaysian Bible Society, detaining the society's president and office manager for more than an hour.
They also seized over 300 copies of the Bible in the Malay and Iban languages as they reportedly used the Arabic word, "Allah", to refer to God.
The Bible Society's Lee Min Choon and Sinclair Wong were told they were detained in connection with Selangor state laws, which ban non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” to refer to God.
But according to Mr Lee, importing Malay language bibles with the word has been allowed since a 2011 agreement with Putrajaya.
Both men have since been released from police custody but they will have to report to state religious authorities next week to assist in investigations.
All this comes after controversial statements last week by the editor of a Catholic weekly, the Herald, which was banned from using the word “Allah” by the courts last year.
The editor, Father Andrew Lawrence, said churches in Selangor would continue to use the word "Allah" in their weekend Malay language services.
Some are speculating that the raid and arrests are connected to Father Lawrence's statements.
The Malaysian Council of Churches said it is particularly upset that Islamic religious authorities have gotten involved as it believes they have no power to detain non-Muslims, let alone enter non-Muslim premises.
The Bible Society of Malaysia is mulling legal action.