Don’t poke fun at Islam, Umno members say after alleged insult on Facebook

(Malay Mail Online) – A Facebook user’s purported insult to the azan has resulted in a flurry of police reports yesterday, with Umno members warning the public not to stir up the anger of Muslims.

According to local daily Sinar Harian, a Facebook user had allegedly inserted the names of federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s leaders and former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan into the azan or Muslim call to prayer.

Kuala Pilah Umno spokesman Rusli Shariff urged authorities to take stern action and impose heavier penalties on the Facebook user as a “warning and lesson” to the public against poking fun at Islam.

Claiming that the unnamed Facebook user’s actions could spark religious riots and clashes, Rusli said the patience of Muslims should not be tested.

“Therefore, we ask that individual not to incite the anger of Muslims by making fun of the sanctity of Islam,” he was quoted saying by Sinar Harian after the Umno division’s police report yesterday.

In a separate news report by local daily Utusan Malaysia, the Facebook user was identified as one “Toowen Long”.

Sekijang Umno Youth chief Mohammad Salleheen Mohamad urged the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to act against the Facebook user for the alleged insult.

“Every word that is said in the azan has a holy meaning, any act to make fun of the azan call cannot be accepted by Muslims and I urge the relevant parties especially MCMC to take stern action on the account holder,” he said.

Utusan also reported that Pasir Gudang Umno Youth and two NGOs lodged police reports in a bid to push the authorities into action, including the use of the Sedition Act.

On May 13, Umno Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin posted on Twitter a screencapture of an alleged Facebook post of the altered azan by one “Toowen Long”.

“Puak ekstremis ada dlm semua kaum. Ini contoh yg amat teruk. Kalau benar org ni wujud, wajar disiasat & diambil tndkn,” Khairy wrote using his Twitter handle @Khairykj, together

(Translation: Extremists exist in every ethnicity. This is a terrible example. If it is true that this person exists, should be investigated and acted upon.)

In response to Twitter user Vernon Aji Kedit’s suggestion that the post was created by Barisan Nasional (BN) cybertroopers as a “cheap trick” to “tarnish” PR, Khairy said: “Deserves to be investigated. Zero tolerance for race/religious hate speech. Against all.”

Other Twitter users responded by questioning the lack of action against Muslim groups Perkasa and Isma for allegedly extreme stands and actions.

Another user Brian Gomez suggested that both Isma and the Facebook user should be ignored by the authorities, saying that everyone should just “grow up”.

Khairy, who is also the Youth and Sports Minister, is the poster boy for moderation within Umno.