Thursday, October 9, 2014

Christians say not prosecuting Ibrahim Ali gives carte blanche to extremists

Published: 9 October 2014

Malaysia's main Christian group today expressed outrage over Putrajaya's inaction to prosecute Datuk Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn Bibles, saying it gave carte blanche to extremists to threaten Christianity and other religions.
"The Christian Federation of Malaysia on behalf of Christians in Malaysia is outraged at the fact that threats to burn our Holy Bible are considered an act in defence of Islam.
"The CFM feels strongly that this position is irresponsible as it gives carte blanche or free rein to other extremists to do likewise, not just to Christians but to any other religious community that is not Muslim," the CFM said in a statement today.
It added that by "no logic or rationalisation and under no circumstances whatsoever can a threat or call to violent action, desecration of another Malaysian citizen's sacred text be considered defensive".
"We strongly protest against the obviously inexcusable position adopted by the government, " it said.
The Christian body was responding to Putrajaya's excuse in not prosecuting Ibrahim over his call last year to burn copies of the Bible containing the word "Allah", saying that the Perkasa president was merely defending Islam.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of law Nancy Shukri said in a parliamentary written reply yesterday that the police concluded that Ibrahim's words were only directed at specific individuals, and not a threat to larger society.
"The statement he made was not intended to cause religious chaos but only to defend the sanctity of Islam," she replied to a question by Bagan MP, Lim Guan Eng, on why Ibrahim had not been charged with sedition.
Ibrahim's call in January last year prompted outrage from politicians and Christian groups, with critics accusing Putrajaya of double-standards in using the Sedition Act against only those who criticised the government while sparing Ibrahim over his remarks.
Nancy, replying on behalf of the prime minister, said investigations by the police into Ibrahim's statement found that what he had said was aimed at the activities of some individuals who allegedly distributed Christian literature outside a school in Penang.
Taking offence with Nancy's reply, CFM today called on parliamentarians to table a motion of censure against the minister for her "scandalous and irresponsible" statement.
"We call upon all right thinking Members of Parliament, irrespective of their ethnicity, religious background or political affiliation to join in passing a motion of censure against the minister for making such a scandalous and irresponsible statement," CFM said.
Meanwhile, the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) said that the minister had made a mockery of Putrajaya's calls for moderation and mutual respect between the religions in the country.
"In the name of civility, any public statement made that threatens the burning of holy books of any religious community is not only repugnant but highly inflammatory. It should never be tolerated," it said in a statement.
"It is sad that the honourable de facto Law Minister, Nancy Shukri, had defended Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali’s call to burn Bibles as committing no wrong in a statement in Parliament." – October 9, 2014

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