Muslims Attack and Burn 3 Churches in Malaysia
Church damaged in midnight fire
Posted by: allanlcw
I wonder what this group of youth are actually thinking when they did that. I'm not sure whether their actions are influence by any groups and I surely hope that none of this will ever happen again. We have this happening in our neighboring country and I never thought one day I will actually read this in our paper. I feel disappointed, disgusted by their action.
I assume this connects to the current situation where some groups prohibit the use of the word "Allah". I hope the police will do whatever it takes to find the culprits and put them behind bars, perhaps ISA should be put into good use right now. This could be the start of something really bad if it's not handle promptly.
The church suffers 90% damaged as I have heard.
RE:Officials: Church set on fire in Malaysia (AP)
Yahoo! News - Made Popular: 10 hours ago AP - Unidentified attackers set fire to a church in Malaysia early Friday amid a growing conflict in the country over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims, officials said.
3 Churches attacked in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Assailants attacked three Malaysian churches with firebombs Friday, extensively damaging one amid a growing conflict over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims, officials said.
The attacks sharply escalated tensions in the Muslim-majority country ahead of planned protests by Muslims later Friday against a Kuala Lumpur High Court verdict which struck down a 3-year-old ban on non-Muslims using "Allah" in their literature.
"I condemn these actions because they will destroy our country's harmony," Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters. "The government will take whatever steps it can to prevent such acts."
Najib said he has told the national police chief to step up security at churches and other places of worship.
The Dec. 31 court decision incensed many Muslims, who see it as a threat to their religion. Hateful comments and threats against Christians have been posted widely on the Internet, but this is the first time the controversy has turned destructive.
The ruling was on a petition by Malaysia's Roman Catholic Church, whose main publication, the Herald, uses the word Allah in its Malay-language edition.
The first-floor office in the three-story Metro Tabernacle Church was destroyed in a blaze a little after midnight, said Kevin Ang, a spokesman for the Protestant church. The worship areas on the upper two floors were undamaged and there were no injuries.
Kuala Lumpur police Chief Mohamad Sabtu Osman told The Associated Press that a witness saw four people on two motorcycles breaking the glass front of the church and throwing an incendiary object inside before fleeing.
He said police found a wrench, an empty gasoline can and two scorched motorcycle helmets at the scene. The church occupies a corner plot in a row of shops in Desa Melawati, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur.
"We are still investigating," he said. He also urged Muslims not to participate in the planned protests.
Separately, Molotov cocktails were thrown into the compounds of two other churches before dawn, causing minor damage in one and none in the other, church officials said.
The Rev. Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Herald, said many churches have employed extra security guards. "Most churches are taking precautions. They are aware it may just blow up," he said.
The government has appealed the court verdict and the High Court has suspended its decision's implementation until the appeal is heard.
Muslims argue that "Allah" is exclusive to Islam, and its use by Christians would confuse Muslims and tempt them to convert to Christianity.
About 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million people are Malay Muslims, while the rest are ethnic Chinese, Indians and indigenous tribes. The minorities follow Christianity, Hinduism and other religions.
The Malay-speaking indigenous tribespeople, living in remote states of Sabah and Sarawak, are the main readers of the Herald's Malay-language edition. Catholic officials say "Allah" is the only word they know for God.
Many Muslims in Malaysia have refused to accept the argument that "Allah" is an Arabic word that predates Islam, and that it is used by Christians in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Indonesia regularly in their worship.
The backlash against the court verdict has reinforced complaints by minorities that they face institutional discrimination by the government.
On Thursday, the Malaysian judiciary's Web site was hacked and defaced with an apparent threat to Christians, The Star newspaper reported. The site, however, appeared to be normal on Friday.
The Star said the hacker, using the alias "Brainwash," defaced the site with a banner saying: "Mess with the best, die like the rest" and "Allah only restricted to Muslim only."