Malaysia: Church Seeks Apology From Journalists

Reporters Desecrated Eucharist, Criticized Christians

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, MARCH 5, 2010 ( The Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur will not pursue legal action against two journalists who desecrated the Eucharist, but it is looking for an apology.

The FIDES news agency reported today that Archbishop Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur made a public statement in which he said the Church wanted to move on from the incident, which had caused outrage in the Christian community.

“Forgiveness is an integral part of our mission,” he said.

Last May two Muslim journalists attended a Mass and, posing as Christians, took Communion. They later criticized and ridiculed Christian beliefs in an article published in Al-Islam magazine.

The incident was reported to the police, who accused the two of having “caused disharmony, feelings of enmity and hatred, and undermining religious harmony in the country.”

Penalties for this offense in Malaysia include imprisonment for two to five years.

FIDES reports that the Church in Malaysian hopes that with this gesture, they will successfully “reach out to Malay Muslims (majority in the country) in the hope of finding solutions, in an atmosphere of dialogue and friendship, to the question of the use of the name Allah for Malay-speaking Christians.”

In 2007, the Catholic Church launched a legal challenge regarding legislation in the country that states that the word Allah should be used exclusively by Muslims.

The case came to a head on New Year’s Eve when the Malaysian High Court ruled that Catholics should be allowed to use the term Allah.

After the ruling, protests immediately broke out and as a result the high court suspended its ruling pending an appeal, and Christians suspended the use of the word Allah.

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