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Flagrant caricature of Catholic faith ignored
Published:  Feb 7, 2006 3:56 PM
Updated: Dec 6, 2020 11:42 AM

It is commendable that our beloved prime minister Pak Lah has condemned the caricature of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) published in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten and reprinted in many dailies of the EU. The argument that blasphemy is not a criminal offence in these countries or that the principle of the freedom of speech protects such acts does not seem convincing.

Having said that, I am not however persuaded that Pak Lah or the other vociferous politicians can take the moral high ground in this affair. Let me explain.

Muslim media outlets in Chow Kit and elsewhere sell virulently anti-Christian material, usually the works of ignorant polemicists or at least of propagandists jaundiced with bigotry. About six years ago, the Muslimah magazine published as true a fictitious of a Catholic priest who converted to Islam after reading a book which the Catholic Church was concealing from its members.

The book, it was said, showed conclusively that Islam is the true religion. Father OC Lim, on behalf of the Catholic hierarchy in Malaysia, wrote to the magazine that its fictitious story was actionable under the country's sedition laws. No politician or the then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had anything to say against this flagrant caricature of the Catholic faith.

Again, as everybody knows, the Catholic church in Shah Alam (Glenmarie) had to endure a delay of more than 23 years before the municipal authorities granted permission for its erection. All sorts of unreasonable conditions and restrictions came with the approval.

Ask any ethically sound man and he will tell you immediately that the kind of schizophrenic morality practised by some Malaysians cannot arise from a genuine obedience to the laws of the Almighty but rather that it is an undisguised worship of expediency (self-interest). It is often the hypocrites who make the most noise.

During the administration of John F Kennedy in the 60s when negotiations with the former Soviet Union were almost reaching a deadlock, the president told his aides that the attitude of the Russians seem to be: 'What is mine is mine. What is yours we negotiate.'

Are we today seeing an exemplification of this principle?

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