Bible Society Wants Selangor State Religious Authorities to Apologise for Desecrating Bible

Apologise for defiling holy books, Bible Society tells Selangor religious authorities. Excerpt from The Malaysian Insider 7 Dec 2014

The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) is demanding an apology from the Selangor religious authorities over the “desecration” of Bibles which were stamped following their seizure earlier this year.

The move comes as The Malaysian Insider reported this morning that Christian leaders were furious that the Bahasa Malaysia and Iban-language Bibles were stamped with a warning (pic, below)  that they were not to be published or used anywhere in Selangor, prior to the release of the books to Sarawak Christians last month.
Bible Stamped by MAIS Dec 2014

[Note on the stamp – In English, it reads: “Strictly for non-Muslims usage only and shall not be published or used in any part of the state of Selangor pursuant to section 9 (1) Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988”].
BSM president Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing said the stamping of the Bibles was contrary to Putrajaya’s assurance that such an incident would not recur, following a similar incident in 2011 in Sarawak.
“The incident has now recurred, this time perpetuated by the Selangor state religious officials. On both occasions, the Christian community has suffered the indignity of having its religious texts sullied and defiled,” Ng said in a statement.

“It does not matter to us which level of government is responsible for this heinous and despicable action.

“The fact remains that the Bibles have been desecrated and the Christian minority in this country has been made to suffer at the hands of religious zealots and extremists working within the government.

“We demand an apology from the Selangor state religious authorities for desecrating our Holy Scriptures, let alone the raid on our premises early this year, ” he said in a strongly worded statement…

This latest incident has “seriously undermined and undone” the Sultan of Selangor’s efforts to bring the issue to a resolution, Ng said in reference to the November 14 ceremony witnessed by the Sultan where the state’s Islamic Religious Department (Jais) handed over the 351 holy books to the Association of Churches of Sarawak (ACS).

Like the 2011 AlKitab consignment, the stamped and desecrated Bibles can no longer be distributed or used, as they were only good as “museum pieces”, Ng said.

He warned there could be no religious moderation in the country as long as there were within the government those who “arrogantly” believed it was their right and responsibility as self-appointed guardians of the majority religion to carry out such activities against minority faiths.

“For as long as the right of religious minorities to worship God using whatever name they choose, to publish and distribute religious texts in whatever language they desire, and to share their faith and religious expressions to whomever wants to listen, is controlled and curtailed, there cannot be true religious freedom for all adherents of any religion.

“Officers of the religious authorities may invoke the law, whose scope and ambit are in any event strenuously disputed, refuted and denied, but at the end of the day, they lack the moral authority,” he said.

Ng said BSM seeks an acceptable and sustainable solution to this “seemingly never-ending provocation” from the religious authorities.

However, he added there can be no genuine harmony and long-lasting resolution until and unless there was sincere appreciation and acceptance of religious freedom.

“Governments can legislate letter of the law, but can never suppress the spirit of the soul.”

The Malaysian Insider had also reported this morning that the peninsula-based BSM did not know of the stamping immediately for it had issued a press statement on November 20, thanking the Sultan of Selangor for his involvement in securing the release of the Bibles, and expressing “feeling contented” over the release to Sarawak churches, where the Bibles “had been designated for, in the first place”.

But according to one of the sources who confirmed the stamping with The Malaysian Insider, BSM only came to know of the defacement sometime at the end of November, which indicated that it had issued its statement thanking the Sultan before discovering the stamp on the Bibles.

The release of the 351 holy books finally came about last month despite much defiance by the state Islamic authorities against the Attorney-General’s decision that there were no grounds to charge BSM as the Bibles were not a threat to national security…

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE BIBLE SOCIETY OF MALAYSIA 6Dec 2014

BSM Statement - Holy Scripture Desecrated Yet Again Dec2014

Added on 8 Dec 2014: CFM MEDIA STATEMENT-  CFM responds to MAIS statement

CFM Responds to MAIS 8 Dec 2014 (a)CFM Responds to MAIS 8 Dec 2014 (b)

CFM MEDIA STATEMENT- CFM responds to MAIS statement – ENG 8 Dec 2014

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