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2 Malaysian Muslims stir anger with church article

world Updated: Jul 14, 2009 17:50 IST
Malaysia ethnic discrimination

Malaysian authorities are investigating two Muslims who sparked complaints after they pretended to be Christians and took Communion at a church service to research a magazine article, officials said on Tuesday.

The investigation poses a fresh challenge for the government in its efforts to reduce religious friction in this
ethnic Malay Muslim-majority country, where religious minorities have complained that their rights are being
sidelined in favor of Islam.

A churchgoer filed a police complaint last week after reading an article in the monthly Malay-language Al-Islam
magazine written by a contributor who described how he attended a Roman Catholic Mass with his friend and hid his
Muslim identity.

Police federal crime investigations head Mohamad Bakri Zinin said officials were investigating whether the two men
had caused religious disharmony -- a crime that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

Mohamad Bakri declined to elaborate. It was not clear which part of the men's actions might be considered a breach
of the law. Causing religious disharmony is defined as taking any action that results in ill-will between people of various religions.

The writer said they were trying to confirm rumors that Muslim teenagers were being converted to Christianity in Kuala Lumpur's churches every Sunday.