Inter-faith group says Jais raid an attempt to create religious strife


By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — A non-Muslim inter-faith group said last week’s raid on a church dinner was part of a “systematic and deliberate attempt by many of those who walk the national corridors of power” to create conflict among the different races and religions in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) also urged the federal government to investigate the fiasco including reports by Umno-linked Berita Harian and Harian Metro that “Muslims questioned that night confirmed that they had been asked to convert.”

“These reports… did not identify the claimants nor state the basis for their making such statements. Such witnesses must be made available to an independent inquiry, which must be instituted immediately… to corroborate such evidence and to verify it.

“If the newspapers in question are found to have published false statements likely, or meant, to incite religious or racial hatred between Malaysians, the authorities must initiate the necessary action to punish them to the full extent provided for in our laws,” it said.

In a statement last night, the group also said that the raid by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) over alleged proselytising of Muslims “sets a dangerous precedent and makes a mockery of the sanctity and inviolability of all religious places.”

It listed various other incidences this year where other communities were made to be at odds with the Malay-Muslim majority, beginning from the use of the word “pariah” to describe Indians in the “Interlok” novel used in schools.

It said these “insidious efforts” — including the seizure of Malay-language bibles, unproven allegations of attempting to establish a Christian state and profiling of Bersih leaders as traitors attempting to “wage war against the Agong” — threatened the peace and harmony earned over half a century since independence.