Malaysian ‘Allah dispute' under control despite vandalism

.- Extremist groups in Malaysia may be exploiting the controversy over a Catholic newspaper’s use of the word “Allah” for God in order to foment “sectarian hatred,” a leading Catholic priest in the region has said. Though groups have vandalized several places of worship, the situation is reportedly “under control.”

Several individuals or groups of provocateurs in the country are attacking and profaning places of worship closest to the heart of believers of several religions to provoke a reaction, the Rome-based Fides news agency reports. The process is similar to past conflicts in Indonesia, Nigeria, India, and other countries.

“There is concern now that extremist individuals or groups are seeking to foment sectarian hatred in Malaysia by using the case of the controversial use of the name Allah for non-Muslims,” said Fr. Augustine Julian, Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

Vandals have targeted 11 churches, a Sikh temple, a mosque and two Muslim prayer rooms between Jan. 8 and Jan. 21.

On Wednesday unidentified persons desecrated two mosques in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, scattering several pig heads at both. The animal is considered unclean by Muslims.

While police investigate the desecrations, Malaysian Domestic Affairs Minister Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has publicly asked that Malaysians, especially Muslims, have patience in the search for the culprits.

“We are very determined. I suspect that the goal is to lead the country into chaos. They want to cause clashes between communities of different ethnicity and religion,” the minister said.

Fr. Julian told Fides that Catholics are “comforted” because public opinion “strongly condemns” the acts and is not responding to the provocations.

“The situation is under control,” he reported.

Commenting on the incidents, the interfaith dialogue organization the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism has declared “all violence against a place of worship is a grave sin.”

“The purpose of these acts is to provoke a clash between the religious communities in the country. But all citizens who love peace and legality must not allow this to happen. Remain united,” the council statement read.

The conflict comes after reaction to the Catholic Herald newspaper’s suit that sought the freedom to use the word “Allah” for God in its Malay edition. The government has shown its willingness to reach a negotiated settlement with the Catholic Church without continuing the legal battle, Fides says.

A meeting is expected between Prime Minister Najib Razak and Archbishop Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur. The meeting could be a turning point in the situation.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 15, 2014

Tuesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:21-33, 36-38


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Peter Gonzalez »


Homily of the Day

Jn 13:21-33, 36-38


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: