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Malaysia

Malaysia announces deportation of four Finnish nationals for distributing Christian materials

  • The two men and two women were arrested last week after police received complaints about their proselytism
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2018, 10:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2018, 1:44am

Four Finnish tourists will be deported and barred from returning to Malaysia after they were detained for distributing Christian materials on a resort island in the Muslim-majority country.

The two women and two men, aged between 27 and 60, were arrested on November 20 at their hotel in northern Langkawi island after police received several complaints that they were handing out Christian materials in public. Police also seized 47 pens imprinted with Bible verses and 336 notebooks containing texts from the Bible.

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Langkawi police chief Mohamad Iqbal Ibrahim said that the four, including a married couple, had been handed over to the immigration department following a decision by public prosecutors to deport them. He said they would also be blacklisted and the seized Christian material would be destroyed.

The attorney general’s office will send a letter to Finland’s embassy to express displeasure over their conduct, he added.

Proselytising of Muslims, who comprise nearly two-thirds of Malaysia’s 31 million people, by members of other religions is forbidden in Malaysia, although the reverse is allowed. Muslims are also not legally permitted to change religion.

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Finnish news agency STT reported that one of the detainees belongs to Joosua Missio, a Finnish Christian youth group known for promoting healthy lifestyles and touring the Nordic country’s music festivals with their own “Finland to Jesus” bus.