Malaysia

Reject Perkasa’s threat to burn bibles, Anwar tells Muslims

By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor

January 23, 2013
Latest Update: January 23, 2013 11:21 pm

All Malaysians should rebuff threats against that which is revered by each other’s faiths, said Anwar. — File picAll Malaysians should rebuff threats against that which is revered by each other’s faiths, said Anwar. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 ― Muslims nationwide should condemn Perkasa’s threat to burn all Malay-language Bibles, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today after labelling the warning an “extreme” method of safeguarding the word “Allah”.

The opposition leader, who is also Muslim, said those who profess Islam and claim to protect “Allah” and the Quran should also defend their faith and morals by preventing the spread of racial insults, which was discouraged by the religion.

“We can condemn and disagree all we want, but if there is proof of any Christian trying to proselytise to a Muslim, then we bring this to court.

“But to burn or threaten to burn that which those of another faith consider it to be their holy book, this is an extreme act that should be rejected by all Malaysians, including Muslims,” he told a press conference.

During Perkasa’s convention in Penang last weekend, the group’s president Datuk Ibrahim Ali had urged Muslims to unite and burn all Malay language bibles that contain the word “Allah” and other religious Arabic texts.

Ibrahim’s remarks immediately created a furore among Christians and politicians across the political divide, and led to calls for the government to cite Ibrahim for sedition.

Barisan Nasional (BN) component party MIC also took issue with Ibrahim’s remarks and urged the government to take stern action against the fiery lawmaker.

Joining the chorus of disapproval, Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said today that although the Bar maintains that the Sedition Act should be repealed, it must be impartially applied against Ibrahim given that authorities have charged opposition leaders under the same Act.

In a statement here, National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) chairman Reverend Dr Eu Hong Seng, described the threat an “unfortunate proposal” 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,” he said.

The “Allah” dispute, which first erupted after the watershed Election 2008, remains a hot-button topic in the run-up to this year’s polls.

Debate resurfaced last month after DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also the Penang chief minister, called on Putrajaya in his Christmas message to lift a ban on Malay-language bibles in Borneo Malaysia.

Hot on the heels of the DAP leader’s remarks, several state Rulers and Islamic religious authorities reminded non-Muslims of state laws banning use of the word, despite conflicting with a 2009 High Court judgment that ruled “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.