The Church of Assumption, Malaysia
Photo: Flickr / Davidlohr Bueso
A church in Penang was attacked on January 26th when two men on a motorcycle threw Molotov cocktails at the building. Thankfully, the building sustained minimal damage as only one of the explosives detonated.
The attack came less than 24 hours after five separate churches discovered banners hung on their property with the phrase, "Allah is great, Jesus is the son of Allah" -- a slogan that is extremely offensive to Muslims who do not want non-Muslims using the word "Allah." The banners appear to have been put up by a group wishing to stir up trouble between Christians and Muslims. Each of the churches has filed a report with police about the acts of vandalism.
In October of 2013, the use of the word "Allah" was banned for non-Muslims in the country, sparking heated debates over the legal right of Christians (and others) to use the Arabic term for God in the Bible, other printed materials and worship services. On January 2nd, over 20 officers raided the Bible Society of Malaysia in Selangor State. Four of the officers were from the Islamic Religious Department, the highest Islamic authority in Malaysia. Despite the lack of search warrants, more than 330 copies of the Bible in the Malay and Iban languages were confiscated.
Give thanks to the Lord for protecting the church in Penang from significant harm. Pray that the truth regarding the banners hung on the other church properties will soon be made known. May Christians do all they can to live at peace with their Muslim neighbours, demonstrating Christ's love in all they do (Romans 12:17-18). During this time of unrest in Malaysia, please also bring the country's church leaders before our God in prayer, asking Him to grant them a generous measure of wisdom (James 1:5).