Catholic Lawyer Lodges Police Report Against Pembela

A Catholic lawyer called on the police today to act against an umbrella coalition of Muslim groups, Pembela, for making seditious statements against the Christian community.

Annou Xavier said that the threats by Pembela were highly provocative and could result in a backlash against Christians in the country.

Last Friday, Pembela held a protest at the National Mosque against Putrajaya’s release of Malay-language bibles and declared they are willing to shed blood against ‘extremist’ Christians that insult and ridicule the position of Islam in the country.

“The statement made by these groups (Pembela) and its members are insidious and seditious in nature as it is highly provocative so as to mean that the said group and/or its followers are willing to disrupt harmony and cause hatred, contempt, and raise disaffection with Christians and among other peace-loving citizens of Malaysia.

“The Federal Constitution states that other religions may practise in peace and harmony and that each and every religious group has the right to manage its own affairs, maintain and manage its own property and practise his own faith under Article 11,” he told reporters after lodging a police report at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters.

During the protest last week, Pembela spokesman, Dr Yusri Mohamad, asked Christian groups to stop their confrontational approach and apologise to Muslims for wounding the community.

“We ask all Muslim leaders to unite against extremist Christians that challenge and insult Islam,” said Yusri, who is also a law lecturer at the International Islamic University Malaysia.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s (ISMA) secretary-general, Aminuddin Yahaya, added that the country has been soiled by foreign elements.

“Malaysia was tanah melayu, tanah Islam. But when British colonialists came to our land, they also brought Christianity with them … We must unite and not compromise with those that insult our religion. We are willing to die for Islam and our country!” he said.

Xavier said that he has lodged a police report to enable an investigation into the matter and to protect the rights of other religious groups, especially the Christian community.

He stressed that Islam is not disputed as the religion of the federation but all other faiths may also be practised in peace and harmony without threat.

“The report is lodged by me as a concerned citizen. I, as a Christian, feel very threatened together with my non-Christian friends,” he said.

The Muslim coalition has reiterated its threat to challenge Putrajaya’s 10-point solution to the bibles row in court.

The government is still locked in a legal dispute with the Catholic Church over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims to refer to God, as Islamic enactments in 10 states prohibit this practice.

The solution, however, stipulates two separate sets of rules for Christians living on either side of the South China Sea.

For those in the east Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, the distribution and printing of such books have been allowed, due to the large Christian community.

Sarawak is home to the country’s largest Christian population.

But the Cabinet insists that Malay-language bibles in the peninsula be marked with a cross and the words “Christian Publication” on every front cover.