CLS Press Statement: Intolerance Has Reared Its Ugly Head Again In Malaysia

The Catholic Lawyers’ Society, Kuala Lumpur is disheartened by the recent event in Johor where a Catholic Priest was questioned by the police and hymnal books meant to be used in church service for the Orang–Asal of the Catholic faith were confiscated.

Christmas is around the corner and Christians have been preparing for this joyous occasion by putting up Christmas trees, singing carols and decorating homes.

The most important part of Christmas however, is the church service with singing of beautiful hymns of worship to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians in Malaysia have worshipped and celebrated Christmas in peace for so many years but lately they have been harassed and their rights trampled upon.

Father Cyril from Johor was questioned for 3 hours for photocopying hymn books meant to be used by the Orang-Asal Catholics during Christmas service. The photocopied books were confiscated.

It would appear that Father Cyril’s action is now being treated as possible crime that requires investigation. What has happened to the peace that the minorities have been enjoying all this while and the rights that have been guaranteed under the Federal Constitution? Where is the tolerance that Malaysians were once proud of?

The authorities must act fast to stamp out extremism that will destroy this country and which will affect every citizen of this country regardless of race, religion or creed. The hymnals must be returned and investigations against Father Cyril halted. The Orang-Asal and other Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christians have the right to worship in the religion of their choice in their own language as the Federal Constitution allows minorities to manage their own religion. This must be respected.

Christians must be allowed to celebrate Christmas in peace.

Viola De Cruz Silva
President 2013/2014
Catholic Lawyers’ Society, Kuala Lumpur

Dated 16 December 2014

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