Muslim Protests After Mosque Prayers. Three Churches Attacked with Firebombs.

Three Churches Confirmed Hit
MALAY MAIL  Friday, January 8th, 2010 LINK

PETALING JAYA: Three churches in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were allegedly targeted by arsonists in an attack from midnight till early this morning.

In the first incident, the administrative office of the Metro Tabernacle Church at a shoplot in Desa Melawati, Hulu Kelang was partially destroyed in a fire about midnight. Witnesses claimed to have seen men on motorcycles flinging “flaming objects” into the premises.In the second incident, a Molotov cocktail was hurled into the compound of the Assumption Church in Jalan Templer, Petaling Jaya. A security guard, who was at the back of the church at 4am, heard a small explosion and upon checking, found a broken bottle with kerosene inside in the compound. He allegedly saw a car speeding off.

In the last incident, the Life Chapel Church in Section 17, here was also not spared.
CASE 1: Desa Melawati

THE ground level of the three-storey Metro Tabernacle Church, which has been operating for 12 years with a congregation of about 1,500 people, was destroyed at midnight.

Church leader Major (Rtd) Peter Yeow claimed they were told by witnesses that at least four people on two motorcycles were seen smashing the glass walls before flinging “flaming objects” into the premises.

The ground floor is the church’s administration office. The upper floor, where the prayer hall is located, appeared to be undamaged. Several hours earlier, some church members were at the church’s premises until 10.30pm for a music rehearsal for the weekend service.

Fire superintendent Anwar Harun of the Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department said they received a call at midnight, and firemen from the Wangsa Maju station reached the scene at 12.07am. The fire was brought under control at 12.23am. Sentul police chief ACP Zakaria Pagan said forensic police officers and the Fire and Rescue Department were investigating the case.

“We need to investigate first before we confirm if this was the work of arsonists,” he said.

“There are many rumours spreading around on what could have caused this, but I think it is too premature to speculate before investigations are completed.”
CASE 2: Petaling Jaya

A Molotov cocktail was hurled into the compound of the Assumption Church next to Assunta Hospital, allegedly by individuals in a car seen speeding off at 4am.

Megah Shrestha, a security guard employed by the church, was patrolling the back portion of the church when he heard a small explosion. Megah and church staff, Kenneth Especkman, rushed to the front and found a broken glass bottle, with a piece of cloth and kerosene in it.

“I noticed a car speeding off outside the church,” said Megah. “It happened fast, and I didn’t see the registration number, or the make of the car.”

The explosion did not damage the church building, but left a black mark on the pavement. Parish priest Reverand Father Phillips Muthu (right) said he was told of the incident by his staff when he arrived at church at 5am. “One of the parishioners who came to church at 4.30am rang the police,” he said.

One of the lawyers for Catholic weekly Herald, Annou Xavier, who was at the Assumption Church this morning, said: “Whichever group is responsible for this, we demand that they stop these cowardly acts.”
CASE 3: Petaling Jaya

The Life Chapel Church in Section 17/21E was also not spared (left). Checks by The Malay Mail this morning revealed that it had suffered minor damages at the front portion and a window. The damage was discovered by the church caretaker at 8am. No injuries were reported.


Friday Protests Tame Affair


Despite widespread concerns, the simultaneous protest at three mosques in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam turned out to be a tame affair.

The biggest number of protesters were at Masjid Negara, where several hundreds vented their frustration over the court ruling on the ‘Allah’ issue under the watchful eyes of some 50 police personnel while a police helicopter hovered above.Armed with banners and placards, the crowd dispersed after about 10 minutes.

During the protest, one of the leaders read out a declaration, which among others, urged Christians to use the word ‘Tuhan’ instead of ‘Allah’. They also wanted the issue to be decided by the Syariah court and not through civil proceedings.

More than a dozen banners were strung up around the compound of the iconic building. Among others, the banners read ‘Do not belittle Islam’ and ‘We vow to defend Islam and the Malay rulers’. Earlier, scores of people inked a memorandum at the entrance of the mosque.

At the Kampung Baru mosque, there were only a handful of protesters who gathered briefly. A signature campaign was carried out here as well.

A political twist in Shah Alam

In Shah Alam, things took a political twist with the protesters targeting Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and PAS MP Khalid Samad. Organised by Anak Muda Islam Selangor (Amis), several of the protesters were seen stomping on the PAS leader’s poster while a banner accused him ‘sodomising’ the religion.

The police moved quickly to stop the protesters, several of whom were shouting that Khalid Samad was ‘conspiring with the non-Muslims’ on the ‘Allah’ issue. Former PKR state representative, now BN-friendly independent, Badrul Hisham (Port Klang) was also present among the crowd. Also among the protesters were familiar faces who took part in the controversial ‘cow head protest’ incident last year.

In the short protest, Suhaimi urged the small crowd not to “berlembut” (bow down) with those who want to go against Islam. In his fiery speech, he also promised that “appropriate action” will be taken if the appeal court decision “is not in favour of Islam”.

“Muslims had been soft (berlembut) for too long,” he said, adding that it was time for them to speak up.
Before taking the microphone, Suhaimi walked to the crowd and shouted “bakar gereja” (burn down the churches). However his remark was met with stunned silence from the crowd.

A brief commotion erupted when a few protesters started stomping on Khalid Samad’s photo, causing the police to intervene and to order the crowd to disperse. But Suhaimi shouted: “Don’t I have the right to speak? We didn’t do any thing wrong. This is about Islam!” Shortly after that the crowd slowly dispersed after about 10 minutes and went inside the hall in the mosque to hear the ceramah organised by Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS).

‘Allah is only for Muslims’

Speakers from 38 Muslim-based NGOs under Mais, including Abim and Persatuan Ulama Islam Selangor, addressed about 350 people.

Later at a press conference, Suhaimi said he would declare a war if the word ‘Allah’ is abused by other religions.
“The religion (Islam) belongs to us and Allah is only for Muslims. If you want to use the word, then you have to convert to Islam,” he said. “Malaysia will not be peaceful because of this term is misused…it’s stated in the constitution that the position of Islam is protected,” he said. He also clarified that they had stomped on banner photos of Khalid because they claimed that the PAS leader’s opinions were improper. “He has to retract what he said. He made a wrong fatwa and he should repent for what he did,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Umno state exco Mokhtar Dahalan stressed that the gathering showed that Muslims are anxious and disappointed with the High Court ruling. “Our feelings should be taken seriously and this issue should be given special attention,” he said.

Badrul, who was also at the press conference, however, refused to make a statement although he was prompted repeatedly by the press. When asked why he was in Shah Alam instead of his constituency Port Klang, he curtly replied: “Because I am independent.”

The ceramah inside the mosque ended at 3pm.

No protest in Ipoh, Penang

Bernama reported that in Ipoh, about 500 people people performed ‘solat hajat’ prayers led by imam Masjid Negeri Perak, Pohat Hatim, after Friday prayers. About 1,000 people gathered outside the mosque Perak expecting several NGOs to stage a protest.

“After waiting some time… I felt it would not take place as there were no banners and the like,” said Halim Ali, a private sector employee. He felt that was the best as the matter was before the courts and that the police had also prohibited it to avoid worsening the situation. His friend, Hussin Abdullah, 35, said the issue should not be blown up as he was confident the government would find a solution.

It is learnt that there were no protests in Penang as well.


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