Four Finnish citizens were arrested on Langkawi Island, a well-known tourist destination in Kedah State, for allegedly distributing pamphlets related to Christianity, local police reported. If convicted, they could get two to five years in prison.
On Langkawi, the largest island in the eponymous archipelago, Police Chief Mohamad Iqbal Ibrahim said that his officers arrested two men and two women after members of the public complained.
The Finns, aged between 27 and 60, were arrested at a hotel and the police seized their pens, notebooks and a bag. They are accused of breaking laws that ban disturbing religious harmony.
Religion is a very sensitive issue in Malaysia, where over 60% of the population is Muslim. Critics argue that, in recent years, religious conservatism has grown undermining the religious tolerance that once characterised Islam in the country.
According to official statistics, 9 percent of the Malaysian population is Christian, half of them Catholic. The government however does not differentiate the various Churches.