Malaysia

Be moderate in face of bible-burning threat, Christian group urges

A religious storm between the majority Malay-Muslim and the Christian minority broke out in early 2010. – File picA religious storm between the majority Malay-Muslim and the Christian minority broke out in early 2010. – File picKUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 – Malaysians should practise moderation as preached by Datuk Seri Najib Razak in response to a right-wing Malay group’s call to set fire to the Christian holy book, a body representing evangelical churches nationwide advised today.

The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) chairman Reverend Dr Eu Hong Seng, described as an “unfortunate proposal” Perkasa chief, Datuk Ibrahim Ali’s recent call to burn Malay-language bibles containing the “Allah” but reminded Malaysians to be measured in their responses to the threat.

“This unfortunate proposal to burn Malay Bibles containing the word ‘Allah’ serves as a serious reminder to all Malaysians to be more measured in our responses, the next time we hear of some unreasonable people in the West wanting to burn other people’s Scriptures, because we too have our fair share of unreasonable people.  

The NECF is a part of the larger Christian Federation of Malaysia umbrella that represents 90 per cent of Malaysia’s 2.7 million Christian population.

Eu reminded that religious extremists were not limited to the west and were to found within the country, and said while the church was concerned by the threat, it would not be cowed by the proposal.

“We are a peace loving people who will continue to pray for the well being of our great country,” he said in a three-paragraph statement.

“Our PM recently initiated the global movement of the moderates and such a noble cause deserves our support. It is time we put into practice in our own country what we have so loudly preached to the world,” he added.

Najib had pitched for a Global Movemement of Moderates to counter rising religious extremism worlwide at the United Nations General Assembly three years ago, which had been backed by several nations including Britain, however the idea is seen to be slow in taking off on home ground.

A religious storm between the majority Malay-Muslim, who form 60 per cent of Malaysia’s 28 million population, and the Christian minority broke out in early 2010 after a High Court ruled the Catholic Church also had the right to call its god “Allah”, resulting in a series of attacks against some 10 places of worship nationwide, including churches, mosques and a gurdwara.

Tension remains at a simmer, over dispute of the Arabic word for god, which Muslims insist is exclusive to Islam.

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