Rise of Strict Islam in Malaysia Exposes Tensions

While Malaysia prides itself in being a moderate Muslim nation where each person's religious conscience is respected, tensions between different faith groups are rising along with rising tensions within Islam itself. More Muslim women feel pressure to wear head coverings and there are more calls that Islamic codes of conduct be enforced. Muslims are discouraged from attending events sponsored by other religions. A fundraising dinner sponsored by Methodists and attended by Muslims was broken up without a warrant. Bibles in the Malay language have been seized because the word "Allah" is used to refer to the Christian God, a term Christians claim they have used for centuries. A committee comprised of various religions has met sporadically to resolve use of the word "Allah". While Islamic government officials claim that minority religions have nothing to fear, many are questioning the government's sincerity.

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