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Malaysia seizes Christian books
The Malaysian Embassy declined to comment on the news service’s Jan. 11 report.
“The officials have offended the sensitivities of Christians because their publications and depictions of their Biblical personalities have now become targets of unscrupulous Muslim officials bent on curtailing religious freedom in the country,” Mr. Shastri said.
“Immediate steps should be taken to amend administrative rules and regulations, especially in the Internal Security Ministry, that give a free hand to enforcement officials to act on their whim and fancies,” he said.
The books confiscated from Johor Bahru, Senawang and Ipoh offended the sensibilities of Muslims, officials say, because Islam forbids the depiction of prophets.
Islam forbids images of the prophet Muhammad, but other images such as portraits of early Muslim leaders Ali and Hussein, the prophet’s son-in-law and grandson, respectively, are common in Shi’ite Islam.
The prime minister is an Islamic scholar who promotes the concept of “Islam Hadhari” or “Islamic Civilization.”
Bernama, the Malaysian National News Agency, reported last week that Mr. Badawi stated the West should acknowledge there are civilizations today that continue to uphold religious values in the public sphere, even if many Western governments and societies do not.
In remarks to a forum in Madrid called the Alliance of Civilization, he also said Islam is a religion that respects religious and cultural diversity.
The Malaysian government last month also banned the use of the name “Allah” in any religion other than Islam, local press reports said.
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