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Malaysia agrees to open diplomatic relations with Holy See

Catholic World News - July 18, 2011

The government of Malaysia has reached an agreement to open formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See, following a July 18 meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Bin Abdul Razak.

Malaysia has been one of the relatively few nations that does not have formal diplomatic ties with the Vatican. Although the Asian nation is officially Islamic, it has about 850,000 Christian residents.

Within the past year, Christians in Malaysia have clashed with government officials on the use of the word “Allah” to denote the God of Christian belief and on the importation of Bibles. Christians are pressing for equal treatment under law: a goal that might be served by an exchange of ambassadors with the Holy See.

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