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PM Condemn Church Attack

PM, Other Leaders Condemn Arson Attacks

PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has condemned the arson attacks made on three churches in the Klang Valley but has asked the public not to start pointing fingers at who may have been responsible for the attacks.

The Prime Minister said he viewed the matter seriously as these actions could jeopardise harmony, adding that the Government would take all possible action to prevent such incidents from recurring.

At the same time, Najib has directed the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan to beef up security and surveillance at places of worship.

“We must not allow the peace and the understanding that we have among Malaysians of various ethnic backgrounds and faiths be threatened by anyone or any parties.

 Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan at a press conference at Bukit Aman on Friday. “As I have said before, whatever problems that arise, we must use the right channel and method to solve it. Our action must not be against the law as this can jeapordise harmony,” he told reporters after chairing the fourth Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) on Friday.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Chief Secterary to the Government Tan Sri Sidek Hassan.

Najib also reminded the public not to point fingers on who the perpetrators behind the church attacks were but should allow the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.

“Action will be taken against those responsible based on facts and the law,” he said.

Asked if there were fears of retaliation due to the incident, the Prime Minister said the authorities must nip the problem in the bud.

“I hope with statements and action taken by the police, people will not take law into their hands. The IGP will report to me on the incident once there are evidence and new developments,” he added.

 Umno Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin at the Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati on Friday

Other public figures have come out to condemn the arson attacks against the two churches.

Urging all parties to remain calm, they also asked for swift police action to ensure the situation does not get out of control.

In the meantime, the MCA is offering the Metro Tabernacle Church the use of its hall at Wisma MCA for its services this Sunday, vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said.

The MCA, through its religious bureaus, will find an immediate place for the Metro Tabernacle to relocate, she said.

“This is the act of a very small group of Malaysians. We need to come together and work against any form of violence.

 MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen at the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati on Friday.

“Do not leave it to the Government or the police alone; the rakyat (people) must come together and stand up for each other,” she said.

MCA national youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong also condemned the attacks, saying the movement is saddened.

“Such despicable acts serve no purposes in bridging differences, and … will ultimately destroy initiatives to help shore up harmony between the various faiths in Malaysia.

“MCA Youth urges all decent minded Malaysians not to let the mercury rise further, and pray in our own ways, that peace will prevail,” he said in a statement.

Kedah Gerakan’s youth wing condemned the acts as despicable and shameful, and described the wrongdoers as cowards trying to cause disunity.

“Our country has came a long way since independence in promoting unity among Malaysians, despite the differences in race and religion.

“As such, all Malaysians should unite to condemn these cowardly attacks that threaten national unity,” said the wing’s chief Tan Keng Liang.

“As an act of good faith in condemning the arson attacks, I hope that the Government would consider assisting, including financially, the churches in repairing the damage caused by the despicable act of arson,” he added.

Gerakan central committee member Dr Hsu Dar Ren described the arson as “a wanton attack on the freedom of practice of religions which we should all treasure and protect in this multiracial society of ours.”

“I hope politicians on both sides of the divide will refrain from fanning emotions and instead try their best to cool the temperature down and let the judicial process run its course,” he said.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim described the attacks as heinous and said such actions were against the teachings of Islam.

“Islam teaches its followers to respect the places of worship of other religions. I urge all parties to remain calm. I have full faith that Malaysians will be able to resolve the matter without any conflict,” he said in a statement.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who was at the Assumption Church, condemned the attack, describing it as a cowardly act.

“I urge the police to give protection to all churches and conduct a thorough investigation on the attack on the Assumption Church,” he added.

Khalid also said that he was grateful to the church authorities, who had given their reassurance that they would not react to the arson attack.

“I appeal to the people in Selangor to refrain from any further such action, which will only cause further trouble for all people,” he added.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said it was a dark day for Malaysia.

“This is a despicable act. This is not the Malaysia I know,” said Khairy, who visited the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati in Kuala Lumpur, which was attacked by arsonists early Friday.

He urged the police to act swiftly.

Saying that Barisan Nasional Youth strongly condemned the action, Khairy added that whatever the feelings of anyone on the issue of the usage of the word “Allah” in the Herald, the irresponsible action of those who destroy places of worship should not be defended by Muslims.

“If Muslims are responsible for this incident, they should be ashamed and remorseful because clearly Islam advises Muslims to respect other religious beliefs.

“Malaysia is a multiracial country. There will be arguments and misunderstandings over issues which touch on race and religion.

“What is important is the people should resolve any problems with maturity and respect for each other’s sensitivity,” he said in a statement.

Selangor PAS termed the arson attacks as cowardly acts.

“We view the news of the attacks on churches, including in Selangor, with sadness and regret. Such attacks have never happened in our country and they do not at all reflect our culture, tradition or the religious beliefs of Malaysians.

“Selangor PAS sympathises with the affected churches and urges all PAS members in the state to remain calm and patient and pray for the safety of all,” its state Information chief Roslan Shahir Mohd Shahir said in a statement.

The Muslim Professionals Forum described arson attacks as “the cowardly and utterly senseless act of a group of misguided, chauvinistic bigots.”

“This act of arson, committed presumably in the name of Islam, desecrates the very religion it purports to protect. The Holy Quran unequivocally prohibits destroying the houses of worship of all religions, as warned in Surah Al-Hajj, Verse 40,” its board of directors said in a statement.

“During the reign of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the second righteous caliph, the religious freedom of the citizens of Ilya (Jerusalem) and the sanctity of their synagogues and places of worship were confirmed, they said.

The Muslim Professionals Forum urged the authorities to immediately conduct an impartial and thorough investigation to identify, apprehend and punish the perpetrators.

It also urged individuals, organisations and political parties to refrain from further issuing provocative and inflammatory statements related to the High Court verdict.

“We also urge all Malaysians to empathise and stand in solidarity with our Christian community in their hour of grief and need, and urge all peace-loving Malaysians to maintain composure and let cool heads prevail,” they said in their statement.

Social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir said it was very important for all Muslim Malaysians to condemn the act whole-heartedly.

“This is not what Islam is about. The leadership must play its role and come out and tell the people not to condemn houses of worship,” she told reporters at the Metro Tabernacle Church.

Veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang said all political party leaders should take a common stand to condemn the attacks.

They should condemn “in the strongest possible terms the spate of church attacks in the wake of the ‘Allah’ controversy and ensure that there is no further escalation.

Wangsa Maju Member of Parliament Wee Choo Keong said he was very shocked.

“The Prime Minister and Inspector-General of Police must take immediate action to protect all places of worship regardless of their religion.

“We do not want to inflame the present tensions in the country or the country’s unity will be set back many years — this is a test for the Prime Minister and his 1Malaysia vision,” he said.

In Miri, Sarawak political leaders condemned the attacks as well, calling for the swift restoration of common sense and wisdom to prevent any escalation of violence.

Senior Iban state leader Datuk Peter Nyarok Entrie said his party, the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), viewed the arson as an attack against the 1Malaysia concept and an attack against all peace-loving Malaysians.

“SPDP, a multiracial and multi-religious party that is made up of Muslims and non-Muslims, is shocked and saddened that the dispute over the use of the name ‘Allah’ in the peninsula had erupted into violence,” he said.

Nyarok, who is deputy president of SPDP, said there was a need to restore calm and order in the Klang Valley.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president and state Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Masing said the issue should not have been blown out of proportion.

“Politicians should stay out of this matter and leave it to the religious bodies of the respective religions to sit down and discuss a mutually acceptable way to resolve this,” he said.

Masing said Sarawak and Sabah do not have such controversies because people of all faiths and races were mature enough to accept each others’ beliefs.

Assistant state minister Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman, from the Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu, also stressed the need for common sense to prevail, saying that the state government has always practised tolerance and acceptance when it comes to handling issues of religious and racial nature.

Keadilan Sarawak chairman Baru Bian said the usage of the word Allah became blown out of context in the peninsula because of political meddling.

He said this was a non-issue in Sarawak despite the word being used widely by all religions in the state for so many decades.

source : http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/1/8/nation/20100108115637&sec=nation

January 8, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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