Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rumour Mongering and Mob Action Should Be Dealt With

It saddens me to hear of the recent SMS mongering allerging that Muslims will be baptised at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Silibin recently. Even more so it brings about questions of how a mob would resort to storm a church after hearing of such without any evidence in backing it up or even rationally think of why would the Christian community want to antagonize anyone by such an act. To this there are two issues that must be examined.

The first is the rumour mongering itself. It is a serious act of crime to use religious intolerence and use it as a pretext to incite different communities against each other. If there is any justification for the existance of the ISA, I think this is as best a case where it should be deployed to deal with the offender for it is clear that the intent is malicious, to cause disharmony between the races and religion and to incite others to cause harm and damage. If the culprit is found and caught, the full force of the law must be used to show that Malaysians will not tolerate such a blatant act of hatred and if possible a harse jail term be imposed to discourage any future small minded bigots to try the same act. If not for religious or political reasons, I think that the fact that the children present on that day undergoing their first Holy communion were involved and the sanctity of the occasion ruined and tainted by an angry mob and armed policemen should be pretext enough to allow such a sentence.

The second issue is that of mob justice. It is disturbing that the re are some in the Islamic community that are so insecure of their religion and quick to resort to fanatical action that would allow the incident to take place in the first place. This is a direct disregard of the law, in which if they feel that the incident justified looking into could at least inform the religious authority to investigate and not take matter into their own hands. I can't imagine what havoc would have been caused if the FRU were not there to restore order and control the mob. No matter of persuasion by a priest or parishener would have cooled an angry crowd highly inflamed with religious passion and self rightiousness. The knee jerk reaction to gather and spread and resort to violence is not in line with Islam, which espouse tolerence and resolution of problems through peaceful and lawful means of which I'm sure the majority of its adherence are in line with. From denouncement and marches during the Pope's speech and now this it would feel to any Christian in the country that our religion is the one under attack. Malaysians all condemned actions when mobs swamped mosques and racially attack muslims in wake of September 11, it is a miracle and a show of how Malaysia is tolerent that nothing as such has happened in the country.
I fear to tell any of my future children that they should live in an atmosphere of fear an intolerence. I would not blame those kids there in the church that day if they are forever tainted to feel that they should live in fear of being caught in such a similar situation ever again or to have their view that this minority of fanatics actually represent the entire faith. To the government, I hope that investigation will root out the offender as soon as possible and let their punishment be fitting to the potential danger of their callous action. Also the ringleader of the mob should also be held accountable, even if they were not the one spreading the rumour, it must be made known that mob action and vigilantism is never the right method of resolving and problem and would lead to only violence and destruction. For the benefit of all Malaysians such must never be let to happen ever again.

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