Malaysian Muslim mob forces small church to remove cross

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

(FACEBOOK)

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia (Christian Examiner) -- Moderate Muslim leaders are demanding Malaysian officials intervene after a mob of hard-line Muslims forced a small church in Petaling Jaya, a major city adjacent to the nation's capital of Kuala Lumpur, to remove its cross, adding to religious tensions in the country resulting from growing Muslim intolerance of other faiths in the nation.

According to the news outlet Free Malaysia Today, a mob of 50 Muslim protestors interrupted Sunday services at Community of Praise Church in the community of Taman Medan and demanded removal of the cross fixed to the outside wall of the building, saying it was a challenge to their faith, Islam, and a corrupting influence on Muslim youth. The pastor complied, later telling news sources he feared a breakout of violence in the city because of rising religious tensions in this predominately Muslim country.

Reuters reported the Muslim protestors could face fines and jail terms up to three years in length under Malaysia's Sedition Act. Introduced in 1948 while the country was under British, this law was used against local communist insurgents. Today it prohibits any act, speech or publication that brings contempt against the government or Malaysia's nine royal sultans. It also bans people from inciting hatred between different races and religions, or questioning the special position of the ethnic Malay majority and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

Local officials, meanwhile are telling the congregation to restore the Christian symbol.

In a press release, the state committee on non-Islamic affairs said it had "advised the church to return the cross to its original site to stop this precedent of mob rule by politically-aligned extremists."

The Malay Mail Online is reporting that as of Wednesday, the cross still had not been reinstalled and that the pastor had applied to local police for an increased presence at the converted shopping center which now serves as a church.

Meanwhile, The AFP reported that the charge for officials to act regarding the incident was led by numerous high-ranking former civil servants and diplomats who founded a group called "G25" (for its founding members) last year to stand up against intolerance.

The mostly Muslim group, released a statement calling Sunday's protest a "mindless act of hatred and intolerance" and asked authorities to take "firm action against the protestors" so as not to "embolden religious extremists."

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia (Christian Examiner) -- Moderate Muslim leaders are demanding Malaysian officials intervene after a mob of hard-line Muslims forced a small church in Petaling Jaya, a major city adjacent to the nation's capital of Kuala Lumpur, to remove its cross, adding to religious tensions in the country resulting from growing Muslim intolerance of other faiths in the nation.

According to the news outlet Free Malaysia Today, a mob of 50 Muslim protestors interrupted Sunday services at Community of Praise Church in the community of Teman Medan and demanded removal of the cross fixed to the outside wall of the building, saying it was a challenge to their faith, Islam, and a corrupting influence on Muslim youth. The pastor complied, later telling news sources he feared a breakout of violence in the city because of rising religious tensions in this predominately Muslim country.

Reuters reported the Muslim protestors could face fines and jail terms up to three years in length under Malaysia's Sedition Act. Introduced in 1948 while the country was under British, this law was used against local communist insurgents. Today it prohibits any act, speech or publication that brings contempt against the government or Malaysia's nine royal sultans. It also bans people from inciting hatred between different races and religions, or questioning the special position of the ethnic Malay majority and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

Local officials, meanwhile are telling the congregation to restore the Christian symbol.

In a press release, the state committee on non-Islamic affairs said it had "advised the church to return the cross to its original site to stop this precedent of mob rule by politically-aligned extremists."

The Malay Mail Online is reporting that as of Wednesday, the cross still had not been reinstalled and that the pastor had applied to local police for an increased presence at the converted shopping center which now serves as a church.

Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse reported  that high-ranking former civil servants and diplomats who founded a group called "G25" (for its founding members) last year to stand up against intolerance released a statement denouncing the "mindless act of hatred and intolerance" against the Christian congregation. The mostly Muslim group asked authorities to take "firm action against the protestors" so as not to "embolden religious extremists."