351 Confiscated Malay Bibles Were Desecrated With Warning Stamps Before They Were Returned

The handing over ceremony of the 351 seized Malay language bibles at Istana Alam Shah was meant as a peaceful resolution to the bible controversy, but as it turns out, the story is far from over.

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08 Dec — 02:05 PM

There Was A Huge Sigh Of Relief When The Selangor Government Returned 351 Confiscated Malay-Language Bibles To The Association Of Churches In Sarawak On 14 November 2014

08 Dec — 12:43 PM

The Move Was Seen As An End To The Controversy That Sparked In January When The Selangor Islamic Religious Authorities (Jais) Raided The Bible Society Of Malaysia's (BSM) Premises

08 Dec — 01:57 PM

Today, BSM Revealed That The Bibles Had Been Desecrated And Defaced By Jais With A Warning Stamp

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". 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 Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) wants the religious authorities in Selangor to explain why their 351 copies of the Bibles in Malay and Iban which were seized by them in January were returned only after they were desecrated and defaced with a warning.
08 Dec — 01:49 PM

The Red Stamp In English And Malay Warns That The Bible Is Strictly For Non-Muslims Usage Only And Must Not Be Used Or Distributed In Selangor

The warning, which has since gone viral on social media, reads in English in the Malay and Iban Bibles: “Strictly for non-Muslims usage only and shall not be published or used in any part of the state of Selangor pursuant to section 9 (1) Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988.”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 warning stamp was a desecration of the books of the Christian holy text which were seized from the BSM premises in Damansara by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) on Jan 2. The warning read that the Bibles, which were returned to be distributed in Sarawak churches, were not to be used or distributed anywhere in Selangor.
08 Dec — 01:49 PM

Calling It A Heinous And Despicable Action, BSM President Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing Says Their Religious Text Had Been Defiled And Cannot Be Used Anymore

The BSM was issuing a statement on the matter in response to demands from readers in Facebook. There can be no genuine harmony and long-lasting resolution until and unless there is sincere appreciation and acceptance of religious freedom, the Bishop added. “Governments can legislate the letter of the law but can never suppress the spirit of the soul.”

“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. “The stamped and desecrated Bibles will now not be distributed nor used, as they are only as good as museum pieces,” he said in a statement yesterday.
08 Dec — 01:57 PM

In 2011, Najib Had Given His Word That This Incident Would Not Happen Again When 35,100 Copies Of Al-kitab Were Seized And Stamped With The Government's Official Seal Without Consent

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The latest stamping storm is not the first incident; two similar cases have been reported taking place in the last few years. In 2011, 5,100 copies of Malay-language Bibles seized at the Port Klang in Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor were stamped with the Home Ministry’s official seal. Months later, 30,000 Al-kitab seized by the Home Ministry at the Kuching Port in Barisan Nasional-held Sarawak were also stamped with the government’s seal without the importer’s consent.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had reached an agreement with church representatives in Sarawak for their return, which was part of a 10-point solution prior to the state elections in 2011.

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.
08 Dec — 01:49 PM

BSM Says This Incident Has "Seriously Undermined And Undone" The Sultan Of Selangor's Efforts To Reach A Peaceful Resolution

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).

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."
08 Dec — 01:49 PM

He Demanded Jais To Issue An Apology Not Only For Desecrating The Bibles, But Also For Raiding BSM's Premises

“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.

“We seek an acceptable and sustainable solution to this seemingly and never ending provocation on the part of the religious authorities,” said BSM President Bishop Ng Moon Hing in a statement.
08 Dec — 01:57 PM

According To Human Rights Lawyer Andrew Khoo, The Stamp Signifies That Jais Still Believe The Malay Bibles Are Propagating Non-Muslim Faith Among Muslims

The stamping of 351 Bibles would mean that the Selangor religious authorities can now confiscate non-Muslim books and materials just by virtue of them being printed, said well-known human rights lawyer Andrew Khoo.

The stamp basically means the Selangor religious authorities still believe the Bibles had breached a Selangor enactment that prohibits the propagation of non-Muslim faiths among Muslims. This is even after the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had decided that the Bibles did not breach the enactment.

“The question of whether the Bibles can be distributed has not been resolved even if the Bibles were returned to the church,” said Khoo of the long-term implications of the stamp. “This can happen again with other publications and non-Muslim texts,” said Khoo, when met yesterday on the sidelines of a forum by the Islamic Renaissance Front.
08 Dec — 01:49 PM

When Asked To Comment About The Issue, Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali Told Everyone Not To Cause Provocation

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Earlier today, Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali told everyone to stop making provocative remarks over the return of the Bahasa Malaysia and Iban-language Bibles by the Islamic religious authorities, saying the matter had been resolved and it should not be allowed to drag on.

Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali pleaded with the media on Sunday not to re-open old wounds by reviving the issue of the 351 copies of the Bible in Malay and Iban seized earlier this year in his state by religious authorities and released recently for shipment to Sarawak, their intended destination. “The issue has been resolved. Do not cause provocation,” said Azmin, in an appeal to the media with no reference to readers in the social media, on the sidelines of a gathering at the Holy Family Church here.
08 Dec — 01:57 PM

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