Monday, December 8, 2014

BSM wants Selangor's apology over Bible stamp

7:11PM Dec 7, 2014

The Bible Society Malaysia demands an apology from Selangor religious authorities for stamping 30 copies of the Bible with a caveat barring their distribution in Selangor

Although Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali earlier said the matter should not be prolonged, BSM president Ng Moon Hing said that the stamping of such text is "desecration" of the holy book.

"We demand an apology from the Selangor state religious authorities for desecrating out holy scriptures, let along the raid of our premises early this year.

"The stamped and desecrated bibles will now not be distributed nor used as they are only good as museum pieces,” he said in a strongly-worded statement.

The text stamped on the books reads: "Strictly for non-Muslims only and shall not be published or used in any part of the state of Selangor pursuant to Section 9(1) Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988.”

The stamp in red ink is in Bahasa Malaysia and English.

The 30 Bibles stamped were among the 321 seized from BSM by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) on Jan 2 and returned to BSM last month in a ceremony witnessed by the Selangor sultan.

BSM said the 30 copies were stamped with the caveat before delivery to the Association of Churches Sarawak.

"In doing so, the Selangor state religious authorities have seriously undermined and undone the efforts of His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor in bringing this particular instance of Bible seizure to a resolution," he said.

He said that the act is also opening old wounds, as Bibles were also stamped without permission in 2011 by the Publication and Quranic Texts Control Division of the Home Ministry. The federal government then promised never to do it again.

"On both occasions, the Christian community has suffered the indignity of having its religious text sullied and defiled."

Ng (right) called for mutual respect and a sustainable solution to the bible issued based on the tenets of religious freedom.

"Governments can legislate the letter of the law, but can never suppress the spirit of the soul," he said.

This morning, MB Azmin told the media to stop discussing the caveat stamped onto the Bibles, saying that it will only unnecessarily prolong tensions.

"The matter has been settled. The issue is over. Don't create any further provocation," Azmin told reporters after attending a Christmas luncheon at the Holy Family Church in Kajang today.

~ Malaysiakini

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