Malaysian police arrest two Americans for promoting Christianity

By May 2, 2005

Malaysia (MNN)–Two Americans remain in custody in Malaysia, without charges, for handing out Christian literature. They were detained on Monday and a local court had ordered them to be held for 14 days to assist in investigations.

Strategic World Impact’s Kevin Turner says one of the men, Rick Rupert, was a fellow worker. “He had some Gospels of Luke with him, and he had ‘The Passion of the Christ’ film. But, from my understanding, when he was arrested, he had not been distributing any of these. A local imam, from the mosque, had called police, I guess, being upset about his activities.”

The arrests took place outside the mosque in Putrajaya, Malaysia’s new administrative capital south of Kuala Lumpur.

The Chinese say it’s not against the law to proselytize, but Turner says the ethnic Islamic Malay don’t share those feelings. In fact, the arrests are a message. “We do not want the Gospel coming to the Malay, here in Malaysia.’ What we have here, is a law that absolutely contradicts the Word of God, and they’re willing to, obviously, enforce that, by putting a man in prison who actually had not even committed any type of crime.”

According to the statistics in ‘Operation World’, in Malaysia, Sunni Islam is the official and favored religion, and there is continual pressure to make it stay that way.

Over two decades ago, limitations on religious freedom were introduced. However, in 1999, some of those restrictions were relaxed on places of worship and missionary visas.

In spite of this, it is still illegal to proselytize Muslims. Running afoul of this produces a quick crackdown. Turner says the case could go one of two ways: the government could either relent and release them, or the situation could become a ‘Tier 5 case,’ and go all the way through the Malaysian court system.

They will appear in court again on May 9. Please pray for both men and their families at this time. Please also consider a gift to SWI ‘Servants in Chains,’ a contingency fund that provides support, expert counsel, and legal defense for Rupert and others who are in similar situations. Turner puts in this appeal, “We need you to give for the sake of Rick’s freedom and others like him who are risking all for the sake of the Gospel.”

Those interested can give securely online at

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