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Malaysian Catholics win battle to build church

A community of Catholics in predominantly Muslim Malaysia has won its battle for permission to build a church, a parish leader said on Friday.

The government's offer of a new site came on Thursday just before a court in Selangor state's capital was to hear a challenge to a decision to revoke the approval of an earlier site. The state government has approved and revoked approval of the location of the church three times.

Church building committee chairman J.V. Rao told Reuters that Catholics were likely to accept the new site if Selangor agreed to certain conditions.

He said: "They will have to make sure the land is given to us first, along with the approval to build the church," he said. He said that this new site finally has access to all city services that the building needs."

The two sides have until 7 December to strike a deal. Out of the 23 million people in Malaysia, only about 6% are Christian.