Malaysia

Priest lodges police report over ‘Bible burning pesta’ notice

BUTTERWORTH, Jan 22 – A Christian priest has lodged a police report after he found a notice purportedly by an Anti-Bahasa Melayu Bible Action Group calling all Muslims to join in a ‘Bahasa Melayu Bible burning pesta’.

Reverend John Kennady, from St Mark's Church, was shocked to find the notice typed on a plain piece of paper with the title ‘Jom Bakaq! Pesta Bakaq Bible Bahasa Melayu’ (Let’s burn! Bahasa Melayu Bible burning fest) in his post box this morning.

He had immediately informed the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) before he lodged a report at the Butterworth police station at about 3pm today.

The notice, written in Bahasa Malaysia, invites all Muslims to join the ‘Anti-Bahasa Melayu Bible Action Group’ in a ‘pesta’ to burn the Malay version of the Bible ‘for the sake of the future generations’.

It further proclaimed that the group already has in its hands several Malay versions of the Bible and it urged all Muslims to join in the ‘pesta’ to burn the Bibles at a field in front of the Ahmad Badawi Hall in Bagan Luar here this Sunday morning.

It also stated that the reason they had chosen Sunday was because it is the day that Christians are in churches praying and it ended with a sentence proclaiming ‘Let’s Teach ‘Em A Lesson’.

In an immediate response, the CFM has condemned those behind this in an official statement.

CFM chairman Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing said the CFM vehemently abhors this Bible-burning action which was first proposed by Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali.

Ibrahim had made a call for Malay versions of the Bible that contains the words ‘Allah’ and Jawi scriptures to be burnt.

Yesterday, the controversial group issued a statement clarifying that Ibrahim Ali had meant the Malay-language Bibles with the words ‘Allah’ and Jawi writing should be burnt and not all Bibles.

“Now, it seems someone or a group has threatened to make Bible-burning a reality on Sunday, a day most sacred to Christians,” said Bishop Ng.

“All religious scriptures are sacred books and we should not threaten to burn them or to desecrate any such holy book in any manner,” he said.

He said Christians are peace-loving people who will continue to seek peace and harmony across all religious groups for the well-being of the country.

“We pray that good sense and moderation will prevail for all people in times such as this,” he said.

He also called on those who are spreading hatred for political gain to cease and desist from such a vile act which is unbecoming of all Malaysians who uphold the Rukunegara of which the first pillar is ‘Belief in God’.

When contacted, state religious affairs committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said he was notified of this and the state government had immediately sought the assistance of the police.

“We have urged the police to thoroughly investigate this and to take action,” he said, adding that only a few of the notices were distributed in Butterworth.

“It is probably just a hoax,” he said.

Earlier today, DAP chairman Karpal Singh had filed a police report against Ibrahim Ali while pressing the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to initiate investigations into the Bible-burning statement by the Perkasa chief.

The “Allah” dispute has remained a hot-button topic ever since the watershed Election 2008 and it has escalated in the run-up to this year’s polls.

The issue erupted again when DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng call on Putrajaya in his Christmas message to lift a ban on Malay-language Bibles in East Malaysia.

Following his remarks, several state Rulers and Islamic religious authorities reminded non-Muslims of state laws banning the use of the word, despite a 2009 High Court judgment that ruled “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.

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