Church arson attacks: Cooler heads must prevail

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2033: We round off this dark day with a statement just released by the Aliran exco: ‘Bigotry in the name of Allah’.

The silver lining in all this is that the crowds at the various protests were not as large as many had feared, and the vast majority of Malaysians simply walked away and refused to join in. Many groups and netizens issued statements and comments condemning this lapse into momentary madness. Therein lies a glimmer of hope for a better Malaysia that many of us believe is possible.

Another bright light can be seen over here, where blogger Dr Rafick, a Muslim, has initiated a donation drive to raise funds to repair the Metro Tabernacle Church.

1928: IGP Musa Hasan denied reports that a fourth church was attacked, according to the Insider. He said three demonstrations were held in Kuala Lumpur, two in Pahang, four in Selangor and one in Terengganu and they all ended within 15 minutes. He urged the public not to believe rumours spread by SMS and over the Internet.

1853: Only 25 people protested at the Kampong Baru mosque this afternoon, according to one eye-witness. A Malaysian Insider twitter update put the figure at 20. Malaysiakini put the figure at 50 and noted that other Muslims leaving the mosque told the protesters to “just go home!”

1829: St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Church in PJ will be holding an all-night vigil to pray for peace in the country. The prayers will begin at 8.00pm and go on throughout the night until the 6.15am Mass.

1805: Anwar Ibrahim, speaking on mainland Penang, has sharply criticised the Home Ministry and Umno for their poor handling of the issue. He said they should have initiated a dialogue between church leaders and Islamic groups to discuss the issue, according to a journalist.

1800: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng visited the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Penang this evening. Blog reader SamG reports from the Cathedral:

CM reiterated the key message of keeping calm and not to get carried away. Also reported that he had had a meeting with the CPO who had assured all Penangites that they will provide additional security. No demonstrations were reported in Penang as per the briefing by the Special Branch Head who was also present.

1750: Aliran’s Dr Mustafa K Anuar has issued a statement here condemning the attacks.

1650: A fourth church in Kg Subang is said to have been targeted, according to the Insider. But I am unable to obtain further confirmation/verification from church sources. Most press reports say only three churches were targeted.

1450: Najib has condemned the attacks and those reponsible because “this will destroy the harmony of the country”, reports the Insider, which also updates via Twitter:

  • Kg Baru mosque protest finishes. 7 minutes ago
  • National Mosque protest finishes in 15 minutes, speaker appeals to Catholics to bring matters regarding Islam to Syariah Court. 9 minutes ago
  • Earlier in Kg Baru, a group of Muslims urged others not to join the protesters, called them fanatics & accused them of church arson
  • A group of 300, mostly from Perkasa, gathered in front of National Mosque to shout “Allahu Akbar”. The rest have walked away.

1430: The crowd disperses as usual after Friday prayers at USM in Penang.

Over in KL, church lawyer Annou Xavier appears satisfied with police co-operation in beefing up security around key churches.

1350: The Friday sermon, heard over the USM mosque loud-speakers in Penang, questions the Herald’s use of the term Allah. A similar sermon was screened on TV1, says one viewer.

1239: Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has asked police to be at all churches. “Police will deploy officers and are cooperating with us,” a church lawyer informs me.

Meanwhile, the FRU have been spotted in Kelana Jaya heading for the Federal Highway, according to an eye-witness.

1237: “I think (what has happened) is very, very unfortunate. This is exactly what we do not want to happen,” says Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, deputy president of Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM).

“As good religious people, we know that each religion stresses tolerance and respect for one another’s practices. We should let the court process go on but at the same time we should calm our people, Muslims and non-Muslims, to ensure we always act in the interests of all and the country.”

“I think the word ‘Allah’ is something which is mulia, to be respected by all. Allah represents God for all. In other words, the use of the phrase should be done in a tactful and respectful manner without any bad intent.”

1152: An attempted attack at the Life Chapel in Section 17. A molotov cocktail again. No real damage. “It’s the same modus operandi,” says Rev Hermen Shastri, the General Secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia. “There is a pattern.”

Church reps want the police to station personnel at all churches in the capital, whether Catholic or Protestant.

Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim is with a church lawyer at the Assumption Church.

1127: Some 21 police personnel along with a forensics team are at the Assumption Church along Jalan Templar to inspect the failed arson attack. They have assured church reps that there would be more police patrols around churches.

Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim is said to be on the way to visit the church.

The Metro Tabernacle Church after the arson attack - Photo via iron

1000: Woke up this morning to text messages on the fire-bombing at the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati and the failed kerosene attack on the Assumption Church in Jalan Templar.

The world of Twitter is abuzz with messages expressing outrage.

This could be a long day. A few elements are obviously out there bent on stirring trouble. It is important for political and religious leaders from across the spectrum to condemn such attacks. Thus far, the political leadership of this country on this issue has not been inspiring, to put it mildly.

I am sure Malaysians of all spiritual faiths and those of goodwill will abhor attacks on any place of worship.

In the face of some trepidation ahead of expected protests, let’s look to the young for some hope for the future. This is an excerpt from a Malaysiakini report:

In a show of solidarity, Muslim and Christian students in Universiti Malaya (yesterday) came out with a consensus over the ‘Allah’ row.

In a statement, PMIUM (UM Association of Muslim Students) and PKVUM (UM Varsity Christian’s Association), the umbrella organisations that represent students of the respective religions, said the two groups had reached an understanding over the matter.

PMIUM president Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin and PKVUM president Benjamin Ong both signed the statement listing down the guidelines that they have agreed upon:

  • That dialogue and discourse is the best and respectable way to handle the issue.
  • That proper education to the adherents of the different faiths must be given in order to ensure the proper understanding of tenets of each religion.
  • The legal system is not the only proper way to solve the issue, especially when it is open to manipulation by certain parties.
  • Religious institutions and leaders must take the proactive step of meeting and engaging in discourse in order to promote greater understanding among the different faiths.

They reminded all parties not to manipulate the issue and condemned those who use it to provoke public sentiments.

The public must use discretion and proper education to avoid prejudice towards the followers of other religion.

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MuET

Hi my fren KEE, As the person who you refering is the one who really politician. And the view that he try to show mainly to manupulate this issue for the politic sack. Please my fren, you may open to the malay news paper, in there they focusly talk about the using of word of “ALLAH” for other. For your information, ALLAH for Islam only ONE. And the trinity concept of god that in Christian is totally different compared to Islam. That y as i tell all of u be4, the concept of “AKIDAH” you not really understand. What we… Read more »

kee

Muet, MP khalid Samad (PAS) in his blog said that the AlQoran did not forbid the use of Allah by non Muslim. Isnt that tell that it is all right when non Muslims refer to the Creator as Allah as well? Afterall these people, the Christians they didnt misuse it right? They are referring the Creator their God as Allah as well. Indeed, the fact is, the Christians and Muslims believe in the same one God, the Creator. You see, a lot of people like to curse in Jesus name, i dont know why but the Christian didnt stone them.… Read more »

karma

BN has failed the people after over 50 years of power. This has to change. Vote Pakatan for a better future.

MuET

Hi all, Like i tell u b4 the main concern of the muslim is the miss used of word “ALLAH”. Thats true that God do not need us to defend Him. But in the issue of “Akidah” of Muslims which is it differentiate between Islam and other religions that all of u not really understand on why the muslims totally not agree when other religions using the word of “ALLAH”. I personally not agree and i really think that other muslims agree with me about tourching the church is a evil behaviour. As our in religion “ISLAM” we also probihited… Read more »

wira

Dear K. 1. The Police do not answer to the CM. Period. If they do, then PDRM would not have stopped all the candle light vigils which were supported by PR. Please argue with facts and not lies. PR states are undermined by federal powers, in the withholding of federal monies to the state. Those monies are instead channeled through federal agencies in the state. It is bad to be robbed of a rightful role. It is even worse to be accused of not functioning well … after they usurped your responsibility. 2. So you weren’t reading the news on… Read more »

K

You can argue and debate until the cows come home (no pun intended) but Mahatir’s right and this has to be settled based on negotiations and now via the legal process.

Even someone wins in the court, the nation loses when this issue becomes emotional and resorts to some stupid acts to vent their anger.

nkkhoo

http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=70017

I do not see proposal from JP is a compromise, this is a win-lose solution.

Malaysia will be in anarchy if we submit to threats from a few … extremists who burnt down churches, mosques or temples or my homes.

Sean

Isn’t the obvious and best solution for the Home Ministry to drop its Appeal? What problem was there before the attempted Allah ban, or was it purely ‘initiative’ by the Home Ministry?

Yang

Gerakan K & Iron

Even if nkkhoo is not a Christian he has the right to tell Christian and others whether they have the right use the word Allah or not as long as what he is doing or trying to interpret is within the context of the law and judiciary. The recent hight court ruling was by a Chinese judge who may or may not be a Christian but her verdict stem from within the context of the law……

nkkhoo

I agree with Mahathir that law cannot solve religion related issue. There is no right or wrong answer for religious matters, all depending on how you interpret them.

looes74

Yang, You are right! Herald publication is contesting the case based upon the constituition & rule of law. We need to have a yardstick to justify our claim. I disagree with Khoo & even Mahathir. If one uses moslem’s point of view, ah so one agree with France’s verdict on hijab’s issue. Once upon a time, moslems & christians called each other infidels & thus the crusade. Finally, Saladin knew that the best way is a compromise. Safe passage of pilgramage in Jerusalem by Jews & Christians. All 3 religions use Allah as God. Khoo, I respect your opinion but… Read more »

nkkhoo

Frankly, I doubt you know what is historical fact before you challenge me or Mahathir on this matter. If you read (I believe you have never read the water agreement yourself) water agreement with Singapore, Mahathir is right in the water issue. Note: I still keep the PDF copy downloaded from Singapore government website. In any country believe the rule of law will know the meaning of “AFTER” used in the water agreement. Malaysia has absolute legal right to review water tariff AFTER 20 years and any dispute has to be settled in Johor court. BN government is too soft… Read more »

kee

iron, i think sometimes our “too” enthusiasm about something, in particular, religion matters, can make us lose sight of more important issue, that is, peace and harmony. Didnt the Bible teach us to love our neighbour? Neighbour means all humankind, irrespective of race and colour and religion. For me, though am a Christian, but i really do not see the need to fight over this Allah thing. For i believe, things that pertaining to God, it is wise to leave it to God, unless you think otherwise, He is not capable of handling. We must not feel so insecured in… Read more »

wira

To Malaysians of every faith including Atheists and Agnostics.

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out. – Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) “

wira

Dear Gerakan K. 1. Let’s recognise that security and safety are the responsibilities of the federal government. The IGP reports to the Home Minister who, in turn, reports to the PM. 2. If there is an increase in crime rate in Penang, you still want to blame Lim GE? Can! First change the constitution and get the CPO to report to Lim GE. 3. Where were you when Utusan fanned emotions on behalf of your big brother UMNO? 4. Note the plural stand taken by Muslim leaders in PAS and PKR. If Utusan had acted responsibly and adopted the stand… Read more »

K

Let me help out Gerakan K here. 1. You are right. But there is a difference being responsible for the security and being responsble for perpetuating the violence on the churches. 2. Being CM of the state, the Cheap Minister is responsible for the state’s security too. He cannot evade the responsibility. The state CPO is answerable not just to IGP but also the CM. The way Penang police acted in the case of KBP is a clear case that of this. If the crimes are on increase due to weak political will and political interference, then the CM is… Read more »

LBJ

The NGOs who held the demonstration are affiliated with UMNO. Make your own conclusion…

K

Proof ? Or just another wild accusations like the Cheap Minister ?

nkkhoo

Fair enough for asking proof. Next, the proof shall from who? From the police or netizens or anyone in the street? Another issue I cannot trust proof from Malaysian police. Who shall I believe in the Bolehland?

… Pekida was originally named as organizer before Muslim NGOs stepped in to replace Pekida. Draw your own conclusion.

K

There is a big leap of logic linking the protests and attacks on the churches.

The point is that when we accuse someone we need to be logical and provide proof and not throw empty accusations.

You might or might not believe the police but then would you rather believe the Pakatan leaders and their cheerleaders who have political agenda ?

O

Like Saifool, he accused DSAI of sodomising him when the doctor who examined his anus said that there was no penetration….

iron

I sound scary? Tell you what … see if I can sound scarier or not. I am not a Buddhist. Now what if I tell the Buddhists that they can’t chant Buddhist chants? What if I tell the Taoists that they are not allowed to burn incense to honor their deceased ancestors? Can I do that? Do I have any right to do that? If you say that that nkkhoo guy has the right to tell Christians that they can not use “Allah” in the Semenanjung, I, as a Christian, should also have the right to tell the Buddhists and… Read more »

nkkhoo

The fact is Buddists and Taisits are not silly to fight for “Allah” as the name of their God or deities. I have one question to you? When you want to use “Allah” in your English and Mandarin Bibles? Please tell me after you have done that before asking same right of using Allah in Malay Bible. Local (Wese Malaysia) Malay Muslims traditionally refer to their God as Allah is an old practice and norm which should be respected by you. Another historical fact is people in West Malaysia have never associated Allah with other religions except Islam. Limit the… Read more »

looes74

Khoo,
You have forgotten the Sikhs? Karpal Singh, remember? The former tiger of Jelutong. The one who says Singh is king & King is Singh fella
So how? See what a tangle web we weave. It’s endless of battles
I am wondering if Syed Hamid Akbar has the wee brain of thinking of implication
Singapore government… nip the bud by hauling up some catholics in Marxist Conspiracy
They stop the problems before it happen. Not after all mayhem went off & go around giving gula2

nkkhoo

The ban by Home Minister is applied to The Herald publications. I do not aware the ban is applied to Sikh who is also using Allah in the worship.

If they is a law to ban Allah usage by non-Muslims in West Malaysia (actually there are such laws in a few states in West Malaysia), whether you are Christians from Arab or alien planets, follow the law in the host country.

deja

the whole scenario clearly a sign of resistant and fanaticism (among certain people with) regards to allah issue….

Gerakan K

nkkhoo is an atheist and ISA supporter. I think this naughty kid khoo should just keep quiet. You have no business with god related issues as you are non-believer.

nkkhoo

You have patented the God or God tell you that I cannot engage in issue related to religions?

nkkhoo

… ISA is still the most effective tool against violent extremists provided no misused of ISA to silent politicians and dissenting voices.

arjuna

Race and UMNO are synonomous. UMNO survives using the race card. UMNO talks one language to the other BN component parties and another language to itself. UMNO’s partnership with them is superficial. The truth is UMNO cannot be trusted. We need an alternative. And the alternative is PAKATAN. The people are now fed up with UMNO and BN. Remember that this country does not belong to UMNO, it belongs to the people. The people have the right to choose whichever they want to govern the country. I call upon the people of this country to go for a change. A… Read more »

K

arjuna..PAS also is synonomous with religion. Does that mean all religious violence can be attributed to them ? Have you read the Harakah ?? Its scary publication, Utusan’s a kid stuff compared to Harakah.

kee

Iron, you sound scary to me…

Though nkkhoo is an atheist but he has evey right to voice his concern over everything, even in this Allah issue, ok?

I can assure you God is not pleased over our fightings about His name.

He is God, and an Omnipotent God does not need us, mere mortal sous to fight and protect and defend HIS name, simply because God is the Great I AM.

Honestly, i find the fighting of the name of Allah, as to whom can use and whom cannot, a very shallow and childish act…

nkkhoo

I do not bother God followers want to fight for whatever name their God wanted to be called, unfortunately their silly (from the eye of an atheist!) actions are affecting the security of other people.

iron

nkkhoo,

You already stated very clear that you are an atheist.

As an atheist you have no business in this “Allah” thing.

You have no right to suggest that the Christian Churches limit the use of “Allah” only in East Malaysia.

You are so wrong to limit the rights of the Christians !

Please stay clear of this, nkkhoo, as you do not believe in God anyway.

Oi Aya

UMNO has always depended on the race card to strengthen its hold. They did it with May 13. After the last GE, it became apparent to them that they had lost much support from the Malays. The cow-head incident (appeared to be) part of a devious and calculated strategy, as was the Theresa Kok and mosque incident, to polarise the Malays against the non-Malays. Similarly with this whole issue regarding Allah’s name. It (appeared aimed at trying to) create, by force, a situation where religion becomes the rallying call that separates you and me, or us and them. The issue… Read more »

Gerakan K

Show us the proof. Recently there are so much PR cheerleaders around. You are surplus to the requirement.

O

Agreed with you bro. We need to come out with proofs when we make an accusation or a statement!

Like Sai fool, he must come out with proof with how he was sodomized when the medical doctor who examined him had stated that there was no evidence of sodomy as his anus… is intact. So he has got to prove it right, Gerakan K? By the way, bro, sodomy cannot occur when there is no penetration, right? …

kee

To BN lovers, please take no offence, i truly hope that the natives of Sabah and Sarawak are finally awaken now to see who is the real devil and vote wisely in the next GE. Mr PM said he cant stop the protest while Anwar advised PKR supporters NOT to take part in the protest, and Khalid Samad from PAS in his blog quoted verses from the Al Qoran saying that non Muslims are not forbid to use the name of Allah… I didnt hear Pairin Kitinggan say anything? I hope those with knowledge will do a good job and… Read more »

nkkhoo

… Malay Muslims main concern is Allah usage by Christian may dilute Islam teaching in the Malay community.

This dispute cannot be solved by Court, leaders from both side have to take and give in order to achieve amicable solution.

nkkhoo

Anil…Malay must be Muslim under the constitution. Why you are so scary to delete this factual statement?

looes74

Khoo,
So more inter faith dialogue. More Islam teaching for moslems. Solution is so simple

nkkhoo

I have to say the majority (>99%) of Malay Muslims and bumi Christians are rational and cool-headed in this incident.

More religious teaching will not eliminate a small group of radical and extremist in any religion.

Many local people told me there are no extremists in the Buddhist. But I advised them to visit Sri Lanka to see themselves there is a group of radical monks.

I have always advocated ISA is still needed to detain extremists from any religions and groups before any irreparable damage to our country.

Yang

Kee,
Pairin (betrayed) Mahathir and Mahathir (retaliated) and he loses. He is now back at BN and he can`t afford to (let down) Najib because he knows that he does not have much years left to protect his (alleged) benefits and cronies……. See how they do that in Sabah with even their brothers hoping here and there for their own advantage NOT FOR THE PEOPLE. So he better keep mum

nkkhoo

A compromise solution for “Allah” usage.

Malaysia is a multi-religion nation, a compromise solution is needed for this sensitive issue before the situation is out of control.

My proposal is

1. Allah can only be used by the Christian churches in East Malaysia.

2. Allah cannot be used by non-Muslims for whatever purpose in West Malaysia. Allah in the state anthems has to be modified to Tuhan.

Stephen

nkkhoo,

You obviously have not considered the background and history of the issue before popping your proposal. Without a good understanding and obtaining respect from both parties, your proposal will only cause more turmoil on either or both sides.

nkkhoo

What background and history you know about? When I discussed this issue with netizens two years ago, you may still know nothing about how this issue originated.

What is your solution? Awaiting Appeal Court turns down High Court decision…?

nkkhoo

.. My forecast is confirmed true in today’s TV3 Nightline, a mosque in Klang was damaged by unknown elements.

nkkhoo

Go back to history, since only bumis in East Malaysia are using “Allah” long before they joined Malaysia. Keep the status quote and let them use “Allah” as before. What is the fuss about this, Hishamuddin? I believe majority of non-Muslims in West Malaysia do not want to associate their God and deities with Allah…. We should not let a small number of Christian or Catholic to change status quote in West Malaysia. Although I disagree “Allah” is exclusively owed by Muslims, but I support “Allah” can only be used by Muslims in West Malaysia to avoid unnecessary confusion and… Read more »

Gerakan K

Your statement:

————————–
I believe majority of non-Muslims in West Malaysia do not want to associate their God and deities with Allah…
————————–

you assume too much. Your assumption was “cacat”. Your proposal also “cacat”. We can only know this when nationwide referendum has been carried out.

nkkhoo

Insofar, Facebook can reflect the actual sentiment of Malay Muslims on this issue.

Are you willing and ensure 100% bumi Christians can accept Allah is exclusively for Islam after the referendum?

Are you ok to accept any referendum on your basic rights? You will be a permanent loser as a minority for asking referendum.

Gerakan K

Please behave yourself naughty kid khoo. Stop taking advantage for the thing you don’t know….

K

NKKhoo

I fully support your proposal. This is a win-win solution and a good compromise.

The Christian groups are wrong to insist on claiming an absolute and all encompassing right over the use of the “Allah” word. The Muslim groups that insist that the word can’t be used by non Muslims are too equally wrong.

We should be talking about defusing the tension, building bridges and compromising and NOT finger pointing and playing politics….

nkkhoo

Let respect the right of traditional usage of Allah by Muslims in West Malaysia.

Let respect the right of traditional usage of Allah by Christian in East Malaysia.

No one takes all solution, this is the best compromise solution. Two hands to clap, both parties are responsible for the final outcome.

looes74

NK Khoo, What happen to the sikhs? And the foreigners? Including Indons? Or worst Palestinian christians? Let me give you one scenario. Supposingly one Palestinian seeking asylum in Malaysia happened to be a christian. Since Palestinian christians are mostly arabs. The bible printed in Arab. Hence the very issue, the word Allah is used for God in Arab for christians To ban or not to ban? To detain or not to detain? If Palestinians are being let go, then what happen to West Malaysians? Khoo, Remind me of Shanghai in the 30s where China chinese sit in the 2nd class.… Read more »

nkkhoo

Let face it, there is no true equality in our constitution.

Indian, Indon, or whoever from foreign countries, follow our laws. Nothing to debate about this matter.

Jacqueline F.

I have been receiving sms messages from friends telling me not to display Christian religous articles in the car as there is fear that there may be attacks on individuals as well. The attacks on the church is creating apprehension amongst Christians in this country. The Government should do what is necessary to safeguard the well-being of Christians in this country.

speaking out against my own...

anyone knows… besides offering donations and verbal support to those affected, what can the average malaysian do to collectively voice/show their (peaceful) displeasure over these events?

any idea if there is a referendum of sorts in circulation?

this type of violence sets a very bad precedence and must be effectively nipped in the butt.

Anthony Tan

Gerankan K, Refering to what you have posted: “Please do not include other irrelevant items into our current discussion. The question now is, why there is no people accuse LGE when there were plenty criminal activities occurred in Penang? But now you point your finger to my PM? This is not fair.” Please don’t bark at the wrong tree, “If there were plenty criminal activities occurred in Penang?”: Why didn’t you blame our police force who are entrusted and paid to do the job? Why blame LGE as he is not the Chief Police Office (CPO) of Penang. THE CPO… Read more »

Gerakan K

Finally, you understand my point. Our PM/UMNO also not the IGP/police. So why you all blame them now? Be fair to all, just blame the arsonists! In addition, please think who are the masterminds behind these attacks. In these incidents, who are the biggest winner? …

nkkhoo

IGP reports to Interior Minister, and Interior Minister reports to PM. This is a clear chain of command, no extra intelligence level is needed to comprehend this simple thing.

Interior Minister had given nod to demonstrations and PM said he is powerless to stop demonstration.

Tell me what kind of leadership from UMNO politicians?