Dear friends, This is serious. After half a dozen trips to Malaysia, and meeting pastors who were part of the 'crack-down' against any who were running a Malay-speaking church service etc. in 1988 I think it was (some of whom were tortured while in prison), I'm concerned that our Christian friends there are about to be threatened again. Pray for them. ~~~~~ ***** PROPOSED MALAYSIAN LAW We received the following email from workers in Malaysia which is being circulated among the churches in Malaysia. Dear friends, There is an urgent need to pray for Christian Malays in Malaysia & all mission work that is going on among the Muslims. I am never in the habit of writing chain mails but I drafted this email in response to the article on "page 2 of 17 April 98 of The Straits Times". Please circulate to all your Christian friends out there... The New Straits Times article says ... GIVE UP YOUR FAITH AND GO TO JAIL ??????????????????????????? In brief, the article says that a new Bill is in its final stages of drafting to curb the "problem" of Muslims converting to another religion and the Proposed Bill is ... "MALAYSIA MUSLIMS WHO REJECT THEIR ISLAMIC FAITH MAY BE JAILED UP TO THREE (3) YEARS !" I am not circulating this to invoke any resentment against the government of Malaysia because I believe that my struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). My purpose of drafting this chain mail is to start up a wave of prayer for the Muslims in particularly Malaysia. I wish to invoke, in all born-again Christians, this burden to pray and fast for the Christian Malays in Malaysia and all the mission work that is going on among the Muslims. This Bill, if passed by the Malaysia Cabinet will set back Christian Missionary Work among the Malaysia Muslims by a great extent and much persecution will arise among the Christian Malays in Malaysia. Churches that have Malay congregations will be refused of their license and even be forced to close down and go underground. As Paul urge Timothy, in the same manner I urge you, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to start putting on your full armour of God and start interceding for all the Saints of God (Malay Christians and Missionaries) and particularly the Cabinet Leaders in Malaysia. Paul wrote to Timothy, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests prayers, intercession and thanks giving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." (1 Tim 2:1-2) As how the apostles, in conclusion, exhorted the Hebrews, in the same way I beseech you, to "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." (Hebrews 13:3) PLEASE pray: a. for protection and wisdom for the Malay Christians; b. for more Malay conversions especially among the families of the lawmakers and rulers; c. that Polarization over religious issues will not split society; d. for the salvation of government officials; e. that this law would not pass; and f. that the local church would become a strong governing entity, and seriously take it upon them selves to organize effective outreach to the Malays. 3. ***** MALAYSIA Malaysia is an Islamic stronghold in tropical SE Asia, and is about the size of the US state of New Mexico (329,750 sq km). Most parts of the country have traditionally been ruled by hereditary rulers called Sultans. The 21,000,000 people are composed of: Malay and other indigenous 58%, Chinese 26%, Indian 7%, others 9%. Although the country is multi-racial and multi-cultural, there is little mixing between the races. British colonizers found Chinese entrepreneurs in settled areas and encouraged the Buddhist Chinese to stay in business, and the Muslim Malay to enter government service. Indians were brought in to work the rubber plantations and staff the police forces and some professions. Today the three Asian people groups have their own private schools with distinct uniforms. The Malay people turned to Islam when sea faring Arab traders came with the teachings of their Prophet Muhammad in the 14th century. Today they are one of the world's most resistant and unreached people groups. Although Muslims comprise only about 51% of the population, Islam is the official religion. No country organizes the pilgrimage to Mecca like Malaysia does. The trip lasts a month and pilgrims receive a package deal that covers food and hotels as well as transportation. It is acceptable for non-Malays to be converted to Islam and many are openly encouraged to do so, through either marriage or economic incentive but it is against the Constitution to convert a Muslim to another religion. However the constitution is fuzzy enough to allow for Malays to CHOOSE to convert on their own accord, but this loophole may be closed with a new law currently being discussed in parliament. Missionaries to Muslims have often turned to the more receptive Chinese and Indians, with good success, after giving up on the Malay Muslims. The few hundred Malay in Malaysia who believe in Jesus have suffered social ostracism, loss of legal rights, loss of the economic privileges of being a Malay, jobs, and sometimes home and country. Many have moved to Singapore. In 1987, a few converts were arrested and kept in solitary confinement. Eventually, they left Malaysia. Due to economic and political injustices Malaysian Christians generally do not have a heart for their Malay neighbours. While the Church is strong and is now a missionary sending body, little outreach, and no coordinated outreach whatsoever, is done for the Malays. It is often left up to the individual minister to decide whether or not they will even attempt to reach the other half of the population. Those that set their hearts to it have had good success. Recent legal/political developments include the proposed law making it a punishable offence for a Malay to convert to another religion (read "Christianity"). This Bill is a reaction to the conversion of a Malay woman to Christianity earlier this year (1998) for the purpose of marriage, a common source of conversion to Islam in Malaysia. Sources: http://www.calebproject.org/nance/n712.htm
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