Saturday, January 09, 2010

Leaders of Metro Tabernacle Church forgive attackers

PETALING JAYA: Leaders of the Metro Tabernacle Church said they do not harbour any ill-feeling against the culprits who set fire to their church and are thankful that the Government has strongly condemn the arson attack.

The statement of forgiveness is made as Christian groups, lawyers of all faiths and politicians from Sarawak loudly protest against any acts done to throw the country into chaos.

Metro Tabernacle’s senior pastor Rev Ong Sek Leang said the church did not condone such acts but would forgive those responsible.

“We have a congregation of about 1,700 who are Godly and forgiving.

"It is a very sad day for Malaysia but a great day to know that most Malaysians do not think like that,” he said.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hin called on the Government and all peace-loving Malaysians not to give way to extremists wanting to throw the country into chaos.

The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia said these irresponsible actions would be a setback to the Prime Minister’s agenda of 1Malaysia and derail the country’s effort to move out of recession.

Bar Council Malaysia said any display of violence and bigotry against any faith was deplorable — and demonstrated a worrying trend towards extreme disrespect and prejudice.

“We call on the law enforcement agencies to take immediate steps to investigate these incidents and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” said its president Ragunath Kesavan.

The Malaysia Muslim Lawyers Association said it did not condone the act of arson against the churches, but the acts were proof that the usage of the word “Allah” was deemed as sensitive to the Muslim community.

Its president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar urged the Muslim community to remain calm and not to participate in any act that might jeopardise the efforts of the Government and concerned parties to handle the issue in the best manner.

Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang called on the Government to take extra security precaution to protect the churches and all other places of worship.

In Miri, senior Iban leader Datuk Peter Nyarok Entrie said folks in the Land of the Hornbill — where mosques, churches and Chinese and Indian temples were built side-by-side — viewed the misunderstanding among fellow Malaysians living across the South China Sea as very worrying.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak president and state Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Masing said religious bodies of the different faiths should find a mutually acceptable way to resolve this controversy.

Assistant state minister Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman, from the Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu, said the state government had always practised tolerance and acceptance in handling issues of religious and racial nature.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sarawak chairman Baru Bian said the usage of Allah’s name was a non-issue in Sarawak despite the name widely used by all religions in the state for decades.

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