The cowardly and utterly senseless act of a group of misguided, chauvinistic bigots in torching at least three churches in the Klang Valley this morning must be condemned in no uncertain terms by all peace-loving Malaysians.
This act of arson, committed presumably in the name of Islam desecrates the very religion it purports to protect. The Holy Quran unequivocally prohibits destroying the houses of worship of all religions, as warned in Surah Al-Hajj, Verse 40.
‘… Had not Allah checked the excesses and aggression of one set of people by means of another, surely would be destroyed monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated…’
During the reign of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the second righteous caliph, the religious freedom of the citizens of Ilya (Jerusalem) and the sanctity of their synagogues and places of worship were confirmed:
‘This is the protection which the slave-servant of Allah, Umar, the Commander of the Believers, extends to the people of Ilya: The safeguarding of their lives, properties, churches, crosses, and of their entire community. Their churches cannot be occupied, demolished, or damaged, nor are their crosses or anything belonging to them to be touched. They will never be forced to abandon their religion, nor will they be oppressed …’ (At-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol III, p. 609, ed. Dar Al-Ma`arif, Egypt.)
In the light of these tragic turn of events, the Muslim Professionals Forum:
1. Demand the authorities to immediately conduct an impartial and thorough investigation to identify, apprehend and punish the perpetrators of this despicable violence lest the country spirals into a vicious cycle of retaliatory acts which would fracture the very fabric of Malaysian civil society.
2. Urge the authorities to either refuse or revoke the permits for any planned demonstration in order to contain the heightened emotions and sensitivities from among the Muslim quarters, angered by the recent High Court decision on the usage of the word ‘Allah’.
3. Urge individuals, organisations and political parties to refrain from further issuing provocative and inflammatory statements related to the High Court verdict.
4. Urge all Malaysians to emphatise and stand in solidarity with our Christian community in their hour of grief and need.
5. Urge all peace-loving Malaysians to maintain their composure and let cool heads prevail.
May Allah guide us all in this most troubling of times.
Dr Shaikh Johari Bux
Haji Mohamed Ali Ghazali
Dr Jeffrey Abu Hassan
Dr Musa Mohd. Nordin
The writers comprise the board of directors, Muslim Professionals Forum.