Area: 330,434 sq km
Two distinct parts: Peninsular (West) Malaysia on the Kra peninsula of mainland Asia (PM), and East Malaysia (EM) consisting of the territories of Sarawak and Sabah on the northern third of the island of Borneo. Well-watered, tropical rainforest.
Population: 27,913,990 Annual Growth: 1.72%
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Official language: Malay Languages: 145 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
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Islam is gaining ground in both numbers and socio-political power. Although many, including large numbers of Malays, are opposed to sharia, the creeping changes in Malaysian public, religious and legal affairs are cause for concern and for prayer.
a) Islam itself is a battleground. With over 100 radical Islamist groups, there is never-ending agitation for sharia and the subjugation of all Malaysia to a much stricter version of Islam. Pray against the imposition of a harsh, aggressive Islam, which would bode ill for moderates, for minorities and for any Christian ministry.
b) Apostasy laws make conversion from Islam illegal in all but one state, with many states meting out harsh punishment for such offenses. It is nigh impossible for a Muslim (and therefore, by definition, for all Malays) to legally change their religion. Pray that federal constitutional rights might be upheld in courts. Pray for discretion and courage for all Muslims who choose to follow Christ.
c) Proselytizing Muslims is technically not illegal in federal law, but it is illegal in the more powerful state law in 10 of 13 states. Punishment includes a prison sentence and caning. Malays are increasingly isolated from the gospel, both socially and legally; pray for opportunities for them to encounter Jesus. Pray also for wisdom and fearlessness for Christians seeking to share the good news with Muslims.
For an additional 7 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Malaysia.