Praying for peace is not enough!

Malaysians must demand that the churches are constantly kept safe and the government must also ensured that the police force will not come up with lame excuses that they are short handed to do the job. 


Azly Rahman

There is a Buddhist lesson in how we ought to perceive Malaysia’s emerging style of terrorism. 

When one is bleeding after being shot by an arrow, the first step is not to look for the culprit that shot the arrow and pondering why was it shot but to pull out the arrow from the victim’s body and to quickly put a stop to the bleeding. This is what Siddharta Gautama would teach as crisis intervention.

Malaysians might never know who carried out the series of church bombings, nor what organisations are behind them, and if there is a higher order involved in the long-term planning of terror.

Postmodern debates will be a tedious exercise on whether this or that name of a Universal God can be copyrighted or whether a pastor or an archbishop can be pushed to the ground or physically attacked for using the forbidden name of the Universal God during their sermons.

Malaysians can only speculate if the reign of terror they are entering will lead to more bombings, arson, and even attacks that will take innocent lives away or even, God forbids, people are actually willing to die in the name of religion.

Governments are voted into power to protect citizens so that life, liberty, and the pursuit of basic needs and next, justice and safety and security, and finally self-realisation and civility can be pursued. 

What is left in the self-worth of a government when swift action to protect property and people cannot be carried out? 

When churches are no longer safe and Christians will live in fear over their right to worship the Universal God they are accustomed to by name – when these are happening, why should peace-loving people of Malaysia of any faith continue to keep the current regime in power?

Buddhist solution

In these last few days of seemingly sectarian violence, Malaysians want to know how trustworthiness is the government in using it’s machinery in making sure that the first order of the day is to be responsible and systematic enough to “pull the arrow out of the bleeding man and to quickly heal him” and next, to prevent more arrows from being shot.

Seemingly this Buddhist solution to a Christian-Muslim dilemma will have to be the logical step the regime will need to take.

In America, the mere receipt of a phone call of a terrorist threat will send the police, the bomb disposal squad, the fire engine, and perhaps a SWAT team to the scene to cordon the place in a “lock-down situation”.

The local government is strong and the police is highly efficient and every step is taken to ensure damage control, to provide both the perception and reality of providing safety and enforcing the law.

The citizens of the municipality or township pays high taxes that pay the salary of the police, the firemen, and also the teachers. As such, they expect their neighborhood to be safe in return. That is one key performance of a civil society.

In America, if there are even talks of one attempting to bomb a mosque, a fleet of patrol cars would be at the scene with helicopters hovering above.

Of course American democracy and the practice of it still has its flaws but in the case of providing assurance that things will be fine, I have seen numerous instances of the efficiency of the law enforcement agency.

Deploy volunteers…

Malaysians must demand that the churches are constantly kept safe and the government must also ensured that the police force will not come up with lame excuses that they are short handed to do the job. 

If needed, they should deploy the cadet police, youths trained in the National Service, Rela volunteers, and any citizen watch groups such as the Rukun Tetangga to ensure that terrorists, perhaps paid handsomely, don’t throw Molotov cocktails into houses of worship.

Arrest the terrorists as fast as we can if we claim that our police force is one of the best in the world, and investigate who or what is behind these demonic acts.

We are in a crisis that might be a prelude to something bigger and will have us see our cities burning while Neros amongst us play the fiddle. We cannot allow this magnitude of violence to continue to spread.

We might even one day have, the Universal God forbids, suicide bombers blowing themselves up in our marketplaces or the pasar malam (night markets), if we do not act upon this fast and furiously.

We must stop all rallies that incite hatred and takes action against newspapers that invoke the ghosts of May 13, 1969. 

Let our police and other law enforcement agencies be seen in public, patrolling the streets, the kampongs, the churches and other houses of worship – so that the rakyat that voted for this government will at least feel safe. 

That was the sense of security Americans felt as the country was healing from the Sept 11, 2001 attacks – when two ‘arrows’ were plunged into the Twin Towers. 

The healing process was painful one for Americans but healed they were and a new agency, The Department of Homeland Security, there was.

In Malaysia, what is the worth of a government if it cannot provide all the means necessary to guarantee safety. 

Malaysians might as well vote in a new regime – that will not only ensure that no arrows will be shot and healing is in the form of administering holistic and preventive medicine.

That ought to be the solution. We cannot allow demons to rule, nor demolitions to define the democracy we dearly yearn for.


AZLY RAHMAN, who was born in Singapore and grew up in Johor Bahru, holds a Columbia University (New York) doctoral degree in International Education Development and Masters degrees in the fields of Education, International Affairs, Peace Studies, and Communication. He has taught more than 40 courses in six different departments and have written more than 300 analyses on Malaysia. His teaching experience spans both in Malaysia and in the United States and in a wide range of teaching context; from elementary to graduate education. He currently resides in the United States.


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