Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Malaysia Arrests 9 Christians on Conversion Claim

As the West desperately waits for some form of "moderate" Islam to surface and come to the rescue, the persecution of non-Muslims continues

Malaysia arrests 9 Christians on conversion claim

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysian police have arrested nine Christians accused of trying to convert Muslim university students — a serious crime punishable by prison in this Muslim-majority country, a lawyer said Wednesday.

The suspects have denied the allegation, which could aggravate complaints by religious minorities that authorities are increasingly ignoring their rights in favor of Islam.

Proselytizing of Muslims by members of other religions is forbidden in Malaysia, though the reverse is allowed. Muslims, who comprise nearly two-thirds of Malaysia's 28 million people, are also not legally permitted to change religion

Police detained the nine in a hostel room at the Universiti Putra Malaysia near Kuala Lumpur late Tuesday, said Annou Xavier, a lawyer who handles cases involving religion. He spoke to The Associated Press by phone from the police station where the nine are being held.

They claimed they were visiting friends, but a Muslim student apparently filed a police complaint accusing them of trying to convert Muslims, Xavier said.
"These allegations are baseless and untrue," Xavier said.

The identities of the nine were not immediately clear. The Malaysian Insider independent news Web site said they were students belonging to a Malaysian Christian organization.

Zahedi Ayob, the police chief of Sepang district near Kuala Lumpur, said he could not immediately confirm the arrests.

Cases of non-Muslims preaching to Muslims are rare in Malaysia. Penalties differ for various states, but most provide for prison terms of at least two years. One northern state also prescribes a punishment of six lashes with a rattan cane.

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