Malaysia: Religious groups inc. Hindus slam plan to protest at churches over “Allah issue”

PETALING JAYA: Various groups have condemned the proposed protests at some churches tomorrow over the Allah issue and called for everyone not to be led by emotions.

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism president Jagir Singh claimed that the proposed protests were meant to pressure Christian groups from exercising their religious rights.

“It amounts to clear intimidation. The police should act on the protesters,” he said yesterday.

“Do not allow our emotions to run astray. Let us go through the proper channel to sort out our differences.”

The issue on whether the Catholic weekly The Herald could use the word “Allah”, he said, was still pending in court as the Federal Court had yet to decide on the matter.

Christian Federation of Malaysia chairman Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng said they were “deeply concerned and disturbed” by the numerous reports of threats that protests and demonstrations would be organised outside some churches in Selangor.

“We welcome the police statements warning Selangor Umno that the protests would contravene the Peaceful Assembly Act and that the police in Klang will be present to ensure the safety and security of church members and the sanctity of the church.”

He called on Christians to be vigilant and remain calm and for good sense to prevail.

MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon disagreed with those who threatened to protest outside the churches, adding that requests should be expressed in a gentle and moderate manner.

Rev Michael Chua, a parish priest at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Klang (one of the churches where the proposed protests is said to take place), urged parishioners to avoid confrontation with the protesters.

“I appeal to all parishioners to remain calm and to avoid any confrontation with the protesters, if any,” he said in a Facebook post.

Rev Chua also assured parishioners that Sunday mass would go on as scheduled despite the threat of protests being carried out by a coalition of Malay-Muslim groups called the Klang Muslims Solidarity Secretariat.

He said he had spoken to Catholic lawyers and would engage in further discussions with the district police to ensure that the sanctity of the church and the safety of parishioners is not compromised.

An elder from the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes said they would accept any memorandum handed by the group in good faith.

He said his church used the term “Allah” only during the Bahasa Malaysia service for Sabahans and Sarawakians.

Source: The Star