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Prelate urges Malaysia’s Catholics to remain strong in face of opposition

CWN - January 21, 2014

The apostolic administrator of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, has urged the nation’s Catholics to be courageous in the face of increasing opposition.

Malaysian police have recommended that the editor of the nation’s Catholic newspaper be charged with sedition. Selangor, one of the nation’s 13 states, 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, said that Catholic parishes in Selangor would continue to use the term.

“I am deeply saddened and aggrieved by recent events involving the use of offensive words and the burning of an effigy of Father Lawrence Andrew, which is tantamount to an attack against the Christian community,” said Archbishop Murphy Pakiam in a January 18 pastoral letter.

“It is deplorable that certain groups also wish to organize mega demonstrations and road shows,” he continued. “These insensible actions by groups of persons have caused a great deal of unease, anxiety and even anger among Malaysian citizens. Furthermore, the endorsement of such actions by certain political leaders and the unexplained silence of others only add fuel to a fire that seems to be spreading uncontrollably.”

“I call upon the Catholic faithful to be strong through these adversities and continue to profess our faith with courage and determination,” he added.

The Southeast Asian 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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