Source: Yahoo News
Wire Service: Reuters
Deep in the heart of a Malaysian jungle, a preacher holds a meeting under the scorching midday sun, urging followers not to lose faith after their church was demolished by the government.
The razing of their simple brick church, among a spate of demolitions of non-Muslim places of worship in Malaysia, has heightened fears that the rights of minority faiths are being eroded despite provisions in Malaysian law guaranteeing every person the freedom to profess his own religion.
"Why did the government tear down our church when they say we are free to choose our religion?" asked preacher Sazali Pengsang.
"This incident will not stop me from practicing my faith," Sazali said, as he watched children in ragged clothes playing catch in a poor village populated by indigenous tribespeople who recently converted to Christianity from their tribal faith.
The church in northeastern Kelantan state bordering Thailand is one of several non-Muslim places of worship recently pulled down by the authorities, a trend that's fuelling concern about a rise in hardline Islam in this moderate Muslim country.