Ngeh retracts tweet, apologises to Muslims
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Perak DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham today retracted and apologised to Muslims for the controversial Twitter message he had posted recently asking if worldwide protests against the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” were a waste of “time and energy”.
The Beruas MP said in a statement that he had not meant to hurt any Muslim or intended to belittle the Islamic faith with the offending message on the microblogging site.
“I retract and apologise to any Muslim who is offended by my tweet as it was never intended to be so,” Ngeh (picture) said.
Ngeh’s Twitter message, posted in the early hours of Tuesday morning, had sparked an immediate uproar among Muslim politicians here, particularly as it had come amid furore in the Muslim world over the anti-Islam made by American Sam Bacile that mocks the Prophet Muhammad.
Both PAS and Umno Youth have announced plans to hold gatherings to condemn the film, joining Muslims worldwide in the firestorm of protests against the 13.5-minute video.
In response, Ngeh had written: “Khairy wants muslim protest against Same Bacile. For Islam or for his political gains? Are muslims wasting to much time and energy on this?”
His words were not well-received and politicians were quick to condemn Ngeh.
But explaining further, the Sitiawan assemblyman said he had written the tweet after watching reports on world new channels CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera on the violent protests occurring worldwide against the film.
He said it was in the context of the violent protests and the deaths that have reportedly resulted from them that he had posted the offending tweet.
“I was wondering if too much time and energy have been spent in response to the 13.5-minute video produced by a mad man by the name of Sam Bacile.
“I wanted our society to think deeper with regard to the way we respond to any provocation or issue that confronts us. I have been taught and have always emphasised to the young never to react but always to respond,” he said.
Ngeh stressed that he strongly condemns the video and its producer, repeating his party’s stand on the matter.
He said he also supports an individual or group’s right to hold demonstrations on any matter, pointing out that he has organised many in his political career.
“[But] The above said tweet has now been twisted by Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN) to say I belittle Islam. This is a total lie.
“However, having explain the context in which my question was posed, any Muslim who is still offended by the question I posed, I apologise as that was never intended,” he said.