KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysian customs officials seized 32 Bibles from a traveler, a church federation said Monday, adding its voice to a raft of complaints that the Muslim-majority country is becoming less tolerant of other religions.
The Royal Malaysian Customs department, however, said it was only trying to determine if the Bibles were imported for commercial purposes.
Custom officials at an airport in Kuala Lumpur took the Bibles from a Malaysian woman Jan. 28 on her return from the Philippines, according to the Rev. Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia. She was carrying the Bibles for a study group, he said.
The woman was told that all religious materials had to be sent to the Internal Security Ministry's publications control unit for clearance, Shastri said, adding that he had never before heard of anyone being told to do this when bringing English-language Bibles into the country.
"It's getting from bad to worse," Shastri told The Associated Press.