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Malaysian government orders return of confiscated bibles

Attorney general says raid on Bible Society was unjustified

Sheridan Mahavera for Malaysian Insider

Sheridan Mahavera for Malaysian Insider

Published: June 13, 2014 06:49 AM GMT

Updated: June 12, 2014 07:58 PM GMT

Malaysian government orders return of confiscated bibles

Picture: Malaysian Insider

The Selangor government today ordered its religious authority to return the Bibles seized from The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) after yesterday's announcement by the Attorney-General that there was no justification for the raid.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the exco in charge of religious affairs Sallehin Mukhyi and the state’s legal advisor Datuk Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman will assist the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) in returning the Bibles.

“Salehen Mukhyi and Jais have also been asked to start discussions with the affected parties, especially BSM to harmoniously resolve their differences of opinion to preserve good inter-religious relations,” said Khalid in a brief statement.

The 321 Bibles in Malay and Iban were seized by Jais six months ago on grounds that they violated a 1988 Selangor enactment against propagating to Muslims.

Jais’s actions were widely criticised as being excessive by non-Muslims and Muslims, given that the bibles were meant for Christians in Sabah and Sarawak who worshipped in those languages.

Khalid did not specify when the Bibles were to be returned.

He said the state government had been advised by Selangor’s legal chambers to take the necessary steps to handle the seized Bibles.

“The Selangor government welcomes the Attorney-General’s decision that there is no case against Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and there will be no prosecution (in this issue),” Khalid said. 

The saga of the seized Bibles began on January 2 when a Jais team raided the BSM offices in Damansara Kim and seized 321 Malay and Iban Bibles.

Then BSM president Lee Min Choon and office manager Sinclair Wong were detained and taken to the police station. They were released on bail.

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Jais said the raid was to enforce a 1988 Selangor enactment which forbade non-Muslims from using 35 Arabic words including Allah and Injil.

The Selangor government said it was up to the Attorney-General to decide on the case and whether there was to be any prosecution.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail yesterday said the 321 copies of the Alkitab and Bup Kudus, the titles for the Malay and Iban bible respectively, were not a threat to national security.

Gani also said that the books did not contravene the 1988 Selangor enactment.

Full Story: Selangor orders Jais to return Bibles

Source:Malaysian Insider

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