Let’s not simplistically conclude yet

The attacks on churches since last Friday, following the ruling of Kuala Lumpur High Court Christian Judge Lau Bee Lan that Catholic Herald is allowed to use “Allah” to depict God in their publications is worsening. So far, nine churches reported to have been attacked, mostly with molotov cocktails.

BBC.com has the story:

Malaysia church attacks continue in use of ‘Allah’ row

By Rachel Harvey
BBC South East Asia correspondent

A church and convent were attacked in Taiping
A government minister says the church attacks are the work of extremists

Another Christian church has been attacked in Malaysia – the ninth such incident since Friday.

No one was injured in the attack on an evangelical Christian church, but buildings were damaged by what appear to have been home-made petrol bombs.

In another case a church was vandalised with black paint.

The attacks appear to have been triggered by a High Court ruling last month that overturned a government ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah”.

The government is appealing against the decision.

Deep resentments

The latest attack caused limited physical damage – just a burned door and a charred entranceway.

But the political implications may be more serious.

Tensions have flared after Malaysia’s High Court ruled that a Roman Catholic newspaper, the Herald, was permitted to use the word Allah to describe God in its Malay language editions.

Muslim groups argue that Christians using a word so closely associated with Islam could be a ploy to win converts.

Christians make up around 9% of the population in the majority Muslim state. Most non-Muslims are ethnically Indian or Chinese.

The row over the use of the word Allah has exposed deep resentments over the treatment of minorities and freedom of religion in Malaysia.

A government minister told foreign diplomats on Monday that the church attacks were the work of extremists.

“These were not just attacks on houses of worship,” he said. “These were attacks on the values and freedoms all Malaysians share.”

Under the slogan “One Malaysia”, the government has made racial harmony a central policy. Its commitment to that policy is now being severely tested.

The “Allah” ban is unusual in the Muslim world. The Arabic word is commonly used by Christians to describe God in such countries as Egypt, Syria and even nearby Indonesia, which is the world’s world’s largest Muslim nation


So far, the Police is still unable to determine who the barbarics are doing these act of terrorism. Whether they are Muslims or Non Muslims, Malaysians or Non Malaysians is still not known. Motives also not ascertained yet whether these attacks are related to the High Court ruling or detached and convenient in bad timing, now being appealled by the Home Ministry and a stay of execution granted.

Never the less, we deplore such attacks. Act of anarchy, extremism, barbarism and terrorism are simply not Malaysian traits. Even when Malay-Muslims had absolute power during the Malay Sultanate reign (pre-British and Dutch imperialism), they never victimise Non-Malay-Muslims. In fact, in 15th century Melaka, traders and merchants from China and India were welcomed and their presence and commerce generated were appreciated.

However, it is sad to see some Malay-Muslims are very quick to be apologetic and “blaming Muslims for being unIslamic” for these attacks, despite it is still not known who are doing these attacks and whether there are concerted and organised effort to do  this. Activist Dato’ Paduka Marina Mahathir is quick to state her dismay in a ‘tone’ where Muslims are easily blamed for these horrible acts.

On the other hand, aspiring UMNO Leaders shouldn’t be too over zealous in their expression of utmost discontent of the situation, to a point where UMNO is blamed for fanning hatred, racism and even extremism. Bad enough we have a lot of anti-UMNO / Malays are pointing hands to the nationalistic party behind all these attacks.

The way Malay-Muslims should behave is to do the Constitutional fashion to resolve this. Blogs, which include Dato’ A Kadir Jasin and Shamsul Yunos have called for Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak to seek an audience with His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong and instruct all Menteri Besars to present themselves and advise all HRH Rulers, as per stated by the Federal Constitution.  A special Conference of Rulers to convene is the objective, in the shortest period possible. A decree from the Conference of Rulers will be the solution to this entangled and potentially explosive.

One interesting fact, is to argue who will gain most from this issue being very explosive to created enough chaos that will draw hatred and blood bath, far worse than 13 May 1969 racial riots. For one, Sarawak is expected to hold its State Elections this year. Christianity is Sarawak is bigger than Islam. The ability to create the perception that the minority Muslims are putting Christians in peril, will lose a lot of votes for BN.

There are Malaysians, who thrive on perils deliberately caused by anarchy and chaos. They cannot possible assume power by the process of democracy. So, they excel in the confusion they themselves create, especially when ti strategy to rubbish and demonise independent authorities and enforcement agencies such as the Judiciary, AG’s Chamber, Police, MACC, local authorities and others.

Another is that many is speculating that an ‘unseen hands’ from ‘outside’, are behind this attacks which seeemed to be ‘staged’. Off late since the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, the pattern of chaos from anarchy, protests and even terrorism attacks within the region is very apparent, particularly in Thailand, Indonesia and the Phillipines. Bombings on non combattants and civilians, which include house of worship is ‘clear and present danger’.

Regionally, inter faith disputes that escalate into bloody conflict has an alarming pattern. In Indonesia, it is the clashes in Ambon. In Thailand is the attack on the mosque in Tak Bai, Southern Thailand. In the Mindanao region, it is an unended, ‘civil war’.

Regardless, lets not loose our heads and be irrational, now in one of the nation’s most trying times. We have bigger agenda to deliver, which include the ‘New Malaysian Economic Model’ due to be announced next month. Let the Police do their job to get these barbarians who is now making Malaysia self-destruct. This a very complex situation and to conclude it with simplicity, will simply make it far worse than it already is.

These are our collective responsibilities, as Malaysians.




Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 19:54  Comments (21)