By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today condemned Umno and urged the government to take full responsibility for the church attacks.
“It has to take full responsibility for the worsening of relations between people of different faiths in this country in its handling of the use of the word Allah.
"The irresponsible conduct of fanning the emotions by Umno leaders has brought about this dangerous situation. What we see today confirms that this country is being governed not by engagement consultation, sophistication or persuasion but by brute and mob force,” he said in a press statement.
Early this morning, a Protestant church was torched while homemade explosives were thrown at a Catholic church next to the Assunta Hospital.
“The Umno-led government has the penchant to use force or flexing of authority in dealing with delicate issues. Take the case of the ban imposed on the Herald. They could easily have engaged in consultation with the church in Sabah and Sarawak. They should try to understand why the need to use the word Allah without any preconceived notions or prejudice. After all, they have been using the word Allah for many years before BN government acted to ban the Herald.
"They could easily have also engaged in discussions with the various Muslim groups about their legitimate concerns on whether the church are surreptitiously converting Muslims and explore ways to address these concerns in spirit of dialogue and peaceful deliberations,” he said.
He explained that there are already laws against converting Muslims but Umno instead chose to politicise the sensitive issue.
“There is already a law against converting Muslims anyway. They could have done a lot more. But because of their lack of maturity and sophistication banning is the obvious choice.
“They want instant popularity so fanning the emotions of Muslims becomes legitimate... and when the court ruled otherwise they then fan the Muslims to oppose the ruling. The people of this country will not escape the scourge of Umno-led rule until they decide once and for all to dislodge this government in the next available opportunity.”
PAS has also reminded and warned its members not to engage in any demonstrations organised in the Kampung Baru Mosque, Shah Alam Mosque and the National Mosque after Friday prayers.
The protest is being orchestrated by several Muslim NGOs in retaliation against the High Court's ruling on Dec 31 allowing the Catholic Church to use the word "Allah" in its weekly publication the Herald.
PAS vice-president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had said that the demonstration on the use of the word “Allah” is Umno’s position and not the party’s.
"We call on all members of PAS in order not to be dragged in the same demonstration sponsored by Umno," he told party’s newspaper.
PAS backs the use of the word Allah by Catholics because it is consistent with the federal Constitution and Islamic principles.
Tuan Ibrahim instead asked the members to join the protest against the Egyptian government's unjust action that prevents entry of the Viva Palestina convoy to Gaza from the country.
The demonstration organised by PAS Youth and other NGOs are expected to protest in front of the Egyptian Embassy after Friday prayers.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has also defended his government’s decision to allow angry Muslim groups to hold a nationwide protest against the “Allah” ruling, saying they have every right to do so. He is promoting racial and religious terrorism!
However, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan yesterday warned that action will taken against groups planning to stage protest rallies against the use of the word “Allah”.