Malaysia is highly multicultural and has three major ethnicities – Malay, Chinese and native tribes. Most Christians are from the tribal and Chinese people groups, while Malay people are mostly Muslim.
Christianity is not illegal but it is illegal for Malays to convert to Christianity and for Christians to evangelise. Christian converts who are caught are confined to ‘re-education camps’ that use brainwashing techniques, torture and propaganda to force them to return to Islam. They are often bribed with cash or false promises to build homes or give them status or jobs. Women are among the most persecuted and will often be threatened with rape or forced marriage.
Christian converts also face persecution from their own Muslim families and communities. Even in the courts, Muslims will be favoured when it comes to legal matters, especially divorce and child custody. Often, marriages between Malays and Christians aren’t recognised legally making it problematic for daily life in Malaysia.
It is illegal for Malay people to have a Bible, and Bibles are largely unavailable outside Christian majority areas. Most Malay believers meet in underground churches as worshipping elsewhere can cause problems for their church. Those who do meet in other churches will often keep their ethnicity a secret.
Despite this, many pastors and ministers continue to evangelise and set up cell groups in different villages. These pastors often travel long distances from house to house to visit the groups. The biggest needs for these pastors are provisions for the villages they go to as many of them are in poverty, and they also require safe transportation. In particular, they need motorbikes for long journeys or 4WDs to transport provisions and even transport those who may be sick to doctors or hospitals.
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