Strategic World Impact co-workers are released.

By May 16, 2005

Malaysia (MNN)–After ten days in a Malaysian prison, two Strategic World Impact co-workers have been released.

Americans Ricky Rupert and Zachary Harris were arrested in Putra Jaya, the country’s capitol. The arrests took place after the imam of a nearby mosque accused the pair of proselytizing.

The accusation fell within Malaysia’s criminal code prohibiting actions causing “disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will, or prejudicing…the maintenance of harmony or unity on grounds of religion.”
If convicted, they could have been jailed for 2-5 years.

Although Malaysia’s constitution ‘protects’ freedom of religion, Sunni Islam is the official state religion. And, attempting to convert a Muslim in Malaysia is considered a crime.

Rupert, according to an SWI press release, said, “We believe this message we were sharing with them is far more important than our freedom and even our lives.” So, they continued to witness. The team shared with the police who arrested them, and laid the groundwork for other opportunities to share the Gospel. While imprisoned, the pair continued to share their faith with those around them in jail, eventually leading some of the inmates to the Lord.

Even after Rupert was moved away from other prisoners, to keep him from sharing his faith with them, the inmates yelled to his cell and asked him to explain how their sins could be forgiven. Rupert yelled the message back to them. According to SWI’s report, the prisoners nearest him would then pass the message down the line. One night, a prisoner Rupert couldn’t see yelled, “I believe…and I will follow!”

Pray for the believers in this country as they struggle to set down roots in their faith. SWI has established a contingency fund, ‘Servants in Chains,’ which provides support, expert counsel, and legal defense for Rupert and others who are in similar situations like imprisonment for their evangelistic work.

Those interested can give securely online at

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