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Malaysia: protests planned outside churches on Sunday; priest burned in effigy

Catholic World News - January 03, 2014

Malaysia’s largest political party, the United Malays National Organization, has planned Sunday protests outside churches in Selangor, one of the nation’s 13 states, according to Malaysian media reports.

Selangor is governed by a sultan who has decreed that non-Muslims may not use the term “Allah” to address God. Christians in Malaysia have been using the term since the seventeenth century, and Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the nation’s Catholic newspaper, said that Catholic parishes in Selangor would continue to use the term – prompting the planned protests.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin stated that the protestors would not be acting illegally.

Protestors are “not doing anything against the law because even though we hold true to the Federal Constitution, when it comes to religious matters the power of the state resides in the Sultan,” he said.

Protestors have already burned Father Andrew in effigy, and police are providing him with protection.

The nation of 29.6 million is 60% Muslim, 19% Buddhist, 6% Hindu, 6% Protestant, and 3% Catholic; Islam is Malaysia’s official religion.

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