S’wak not inoculated from Peninsular religious politics

Francis Paul Siah

Modified 28 Feb 2018, 7:51 am

COMMENT | I was shocked and disgusted to hear of the incident outside the Federal Court in Kuching yesterday.

Archbishop of Kuching Archdiocese Simon Poh was heckled as he walked out of the Federal Court in Kuching after the delivery of a high-profile decision.

Earlier, the Federal Court ruled that four individuals who wanted to nullify their status as Muslims cannot do so through the civil courts, and must go to the Syariah Court.

The court has made a decision and all should respect the judgment.

Christian leaders in Sarawak were clearly disappointed, but as Poh had said, “The Catholic Church respected today's decision as it came from the apex court.”

I have viewed the video of the incident as Poh was escorted out of the building, with groups behind him breaking into chants of "Allahuakbar" (God is great), and find the incident extremely disturbing.

One was even seen standing atop a police vehicle, urging others to continue the heckling against the archbishop.

Although Poh later clarified that he was not attacked, but escorted out of the building to his waiting car by a group of Muslims and friends, it was clear that he was rattled.

I am very sad and greatly disappointed that this is happening in my beloved hometown of Kuching.

I am writing this not because I am a parishioner in the Kuching archdiocese, or because Poh is my archbishop, but as a Sarawakian patriot who detests such acts of defiance and violence in my homeland.

This shouldn’t happen in Sarawak. I have often stressed that my state one of the best examples of interreligious harmony and tranquillity, an example for the Peninsular to...

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