A Story of Persecution from Brunei
Brunei is an Islamic nation, based on an ideology called Melayu Islam Beraja (Malay Muslim Monarchy). The religion of Brunei Darussalam is the Muslim Religion according to the Shafeite sect of that religion. All other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony by the person professing it in any part of the country. In practice, this means that only non-Malays are able and allowed to choose their faith. If a Malay converts, this “disturbs peace and harmony” and he is automatically scheduled for re-education to the Islamic faith.
The Sultan announced his aim to introduce an Islamic Criminal Law which will complicate the situation for the small Christian minority even further, especially for Muslim Background Believers known to have converted. The monitoring of churches and Christian meetings seems to have increased. The state sends spies to those gatherings, so Christians have to exercise more caution. In one case, a pastor was openly warned by authorities to be cautious with his Christian activities and with whom he meets.
It is very difficult for existing churches to get the government’s permission to renovate a church building. Permission for expansions is never granted, whether churches are registered or not. Importing Bibles, Christian literature, and other materials is restricted to personal use only. Importing for ministry purposes is not possible. Materials in the national language are especially suspect and thus difficult to obtain. Accordingly, churches have to be careful; they experience challenges in training and work.