40,000 See Gibson's "Passion" Despite Strict Govt Control of Showings

October 5, 2004

Source: The Baltimore Sun

Wire Service: AP


On October 5, 2004 the Associated Press reported, "More than 40,000 Malaysians have watched Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ' after authorities in this mostly Muslim nation allowed the movie to be shown to Christians in designated movie theaters. Crowds at the screenings, which are slated to run for nearly two months until the end of October, might have been larger if some Christians hadn't already seen the movie on pirated videodiscs or in neighboring countries, Wong Kim Kong, secretary general of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, a church grouping responsible for ticket sales, said Monday. The Home Ministry ruled that non-Christians should be barred from screenings, but the restriction hasn't been strictly enforced, Wong said. He noted that some people might have asked their Christian friends to help them get tickets, which are sold only through churches. 'Each individual should be responsible for his own actions,' Wong told The Associated Press. 'If non-Christians are comfortable with watching this film, we can't stop them from doing so.'"