Why Bible-burning poser is bridge-burning in multi-religious Malaysia

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In a joint statement, Aliran, Sisters in Islam, Islamic Renaissance Front and Projek Dialog have condemned Perkasa’s call to burn Malay-language Bibles as an abominable provocation.

Graphic courtesy of themalaysianinsider.com
Graphic courtesy of themalaysianinsider.com

We are appalled by the vile exhortation of right-wing Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali to fellow Muslims to burn Malay-language Bibles containing the word “Allah” in the continuing saga of the contentious use of the term in Malaysia.

This dangerous and reckless provocation will only court the zealotry of the bigots and consequently tear apart the existing fragile harmony among Malaysians of various ethnic and religious backgrounds. Religious conflicts do not get resolved amicably and effectively by rabble rousing and dangerous antics such as the proposed torching of the holy books of believers.

The alleged distribution of Malay Bibles to Muslim children in a secondary school in Penang – yet to be verified – may have understandably caused deep concern among the Muslim community and requires immediate investigation, but it certainly doesn’t justify the burning of the Holy Bible. The provocation is mischievously intended to ignite hatred and extremism.

An understanding and appreciation of non-Muslim communities, which is so necessary for unity and harmony, cannot be promoted effectively by committing a sacrilegious act of burning holy books that are revered by their respective believers. In fact, this proposed act by Perkasa goes against the very teachings of most revealed religions including Islam.

The burning of holy books is an abominable act that cannot be justified. This was why the proposed burning of the Qur’an by an irresponsible pastor in Florida, USA some two years ago, for instance, received the well-deserved condemnation not only from Muslims but also from the majority of the right-thinking Christians and followers of other faiths.

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This abominable call to burn the Bible becomes all the more despicable and sinister when it is intended to shore up the crumbling political fortunes of Umno-BN by manipulating the emotions of the Malay-Muslims, and also to divert the public’s attention away from the recent revelation of citizenship-for-votes in Sabah. Indeed, it is dangerous and mischievous to incite ethno-religious sentiments at the altar of political expediency. Additionally, it is feared that this proposed burning may provide an ugly precedent to the burning of other holy books in future particularly those of the Sikh community, which uses the word “Allah” in its religious texts.

In the interest of the future of Malaysia, and its ethno-religious diversity and harmony, peace-loving Malaysians, irrespective of creed and colour, must condemn this Perkasa provocation unreservedly. We must send a clear signal that the majority of Malaysians are accommodating and tolerant people who will not be taken in by this despicable act of recklessness.

Jointly released by:

Aliran, Sisters in Islam, Islamic Renaissance Front and Projek Dialog (an IRF initiative)
22 January 2013

Endorsed by:

  • Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  • Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
  • All Women’s Action Society (Awam)

If your organisation would like to endorse this statement, please send an email to aliran.malaysia at yahoo dot com by 29 January 2013

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Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Stephen Chu
Stephen Chu
25 Feb 2013 1.46am

All I can say is that both these fools are digging their own graves – whichever angle you would like to see it – be it in politics or in their own religion. Correct me if I am wrong …I am not a Muslim by the way, but I remember coming across one of Muhammad’s earlier sayings that if your enemy is hungry feed him and if your enemy is thirsty give him drink – which is the same as in Proverbs 25:21. Ibrahim and Mahathir have chosen the contrary .. Makes me wonder what kind of Islam are they championing…(No offense intended for muslims,here)

ow eng haw
ow eng haw
27 Jan 2013 8.43pm

Isn’t burning any Holy Book Haram ? This is particularly true when Isa, Ibrahim, Musa and all the prophets are adored by our Muslim Brothers? Maybe we should get a fatwa on people who proclaim burning of the Bible.

Ong Eu Soon
27 Jan 2013 7.28pm

The call by Perkasa to burn the “Alla”h bible fail to attract not even a single soul. This prove once again that Malaysians basically do not like to play up religious issue. It is only the politicians and some stupid and dumb NGOs that believe by playing up religious bigotry they will gain something during the election.
If my prediction is not wrong, Pennang DAP will not be able to attract more than 70% of Chinese votes in the coming election. Many people are now fed up with the cocky arrogant tokong who has since degraded himself to the likes of Ibrahim Ali.
If Ibrahim Ali can’t stir up the sentiment of the people what made the cocky arrogant tokong think that he is better.
We are fortunate that Malaysians have become more mature in term of handling religious issue, they just couldn’t be bother about the religiuos bigotry displayed by all the dumb and stupid politicians and activists.

joetanozjoetanpz
23 Jan 2013 8.08am

That shows what kind of a ex PM and man he really is. I would not … If this is what is representative of UMNO and their lik, fair minded Malays, just do the right thing…vote them out.

jonas reong
jonas reong
23 Jan 2013 1.35am

Let they burn the Bible, if so, they are making a great mistake ever taken place in this modern time world. This will create a revenge, sense of anger, breachof democracy and even to be more hostile. I question, where is Minister of KDN, where is the Prime Minister, Where is police IGP, where are all christian Politician and YB,b,b,b.b from BN itself. ( belagak macam ketua tetapi pengecut) We will not vote for you,Masing, Mawan, Manyin, Jabu Pairin, and other what so called Prebumi, not Bumiputra ok!, leader!!. The consequent of this evil deed will be terbulance. Yang salah BN kata betul, yang betul kata salah. .(Ta ambil tindakan keatas penghasut si k—nt dan orang kanan Perkasa ) Kita akan kempen untuk memberi maklumat serta meyedarkan hak-hak orang kristian di Malaysia ini. Kita puji Indonesia, orang Amarika, Australia, GB dll negeri yang betul mengamal kebebsan ugama ini termasuk menghormati Kitab-kitab Suci. Di Malaysia, (ada orang kata) BIBLE AKAN DI BAKAR. Kami orang-orang kristen cukup sakit hati dan amat tersinggung terhadap perbuatan yang di corak oleh orang-orang yang kurang siuman dengan MEMBAKAR BIBLE kami. Ibrahim Ali,… Read more »

Chong Bling
23 Jan 2013 1.06am

Most said,this bibles issue was created to divert rakyats attention away from the Sabah Filipinos Citizenship issue.. And until now,why are there no news or action of those 2 men who were supposed to be distributing the BM bibles? Are they bought to do the job or it was just a fabricated story, what u think?
Your guess is as good as mine!

arjuna waspada
arjuna waspada
23 Jan 2013 12.47am

Ini semua dalam semangat liberal terbukaan engage inklusive kelainan world view vernakular 1M4U gajet roadshow i am open to all your ideas and concerns Pm for all open sky open door kesamarataan 1M.

Semua orang di Malaysia bolih minta apa saja cakap apa saja buat apa saja. 1M juga mengalakkan demonstrasi jalanan.

Dengan di sediakan prasarana media dan galakkan RM200 untuk beli semua jenis gajet dan kebebasan bersuara tanpa ISA dan mengurangkan penglibatan polis akan mencetus civil disorder dan ujud lah the defiance gaining momentum dan patrik dan Bawangi.
Dalam semangat ini Ah Beng pulau pinang pada ucapan tahun baru memberi maana yang penuh kapada 1M.
Sebab Ah Beng tahu 1M memihak kapada nya.
arjuna waspada
changkat lobak

George Dragon
George Dragon
22 Jan 2013 11.39pm

Thank you for this wise and helpful statement

Paul Warren
22 Jan 2013 10.12pm

Mahathir too (seems to) support the burning of the Bible as he too was present when Ibrahim Ali made that call. He has not distanced himself from that call, has he?