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Malaysia: Churches Firebombed

Eight churches have been attacked in Malaysia following a court decision that allows Christians to use “Allah” in their prayers and publications when referring to God, according to The Associated Press (AP).

On Sunday, Jan. 10, three churches were firebombed. “On Sunday, a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the All Saints Church in Taiping town in central Perak state early in the morning before it opened,” state police chief Zulkifli Abdullah told AP. “Police found burn marks on the wall but there was no damage to the building,” he added. Despite the attacks, thousands of Christians attended services and prayed for unity and an end to the attacks. 

The attacks on churches began on Jan. 8 and 9, when four churches were hit with firebombs. “No one was hurt and all suffered little damage, except the Metro Tabernacle Church,” AP said. “Parishioners there moved services after fire gutted the first floor.”

The attacks followed a Dec. 31 High Court decision overturning a government ban prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” in prayers and literature. The court had ruled on a petition by Malaysia's Roman Catholic Church, whose main publication, the Herald, uses the word “Allah” in its Malay-language edition. The government has appealed the verdict.

Leaders of Metro Tabernacle issued a statement to The Star newspaper, forgiving the attackers and thanking the government for condemning the attacks. “We have a congregation of 1,700 who are godly and forgiving,” said Senior Pastor Reverend Ong Sek Leang. “It is a very sad day for Malaysia, but a great day to know that most Malaysians do not think [in a religiously divisive manner].”

The statement of forgiveness was offered as Christian groups, lawyers of all faiths and politicians from the East Malaysia (Borneo) state of Sarawak loudly protested the attacks, The Star reported.

The attacks against churches in Malaysia have targeted varied denominations, and The Voice of the Martyrs encourages you to pray for believers. Pray that they will show grace and love toward the attackers and that their testimonies will draw non-believers into fellowship with Christ.
Posted: January 13, 2010

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