The four, two men and two women aged between 27 and 60, were arrested in their hotel on Langkawi Island, a well-known tourist destination, on charges of “disturbing religious harmony”. If found guilty, they could receive a five-year prison sentence.
District Police Chief Mohamad Iqbal Ibrahim told the media the arrests were made following complaints by the public. Since the arrival of the Finns on 18 November at least three reports regarding their activities had been filed, he said, according to Free Malaysia Today.
The news site reported that during the arrests police also confiscated 47 pens and 336 Christian booklets.
The four remain in custody pending investigations, Ibrahim said.
This is the third such incident in recent weeks, a local source told World Watch Monitor. Earlier, five Nigerians and six locals were also arrested for similar activities at other locations, the source said.
Conversion to Christianity in Muslim-majority Malaysia is against the law in almost all states, as is evangelism among Malay Muslims.
A Malaysian pastor who received death threats for alleged proselytism of Muslims was abducted in February 2017 and remains missing.
While the new government, in power since May, has pledged to sign the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, ultra-conservative Muslim groups strongly oppose this as they fear it will encourage apostasy and proselytism of Muslims.
World Watch Monitor’s source added that many in Malaysia have hope that the new government will bring change and justice for all and that such overt evangelism could jeopardise the efforts of the government.