Joint Civil Society Statement On Church Arson Attacks

We the undersigned Malaysian civil society groups from different spiritual, cultural and ideological backgrounds condemn unconditionally in the strongest possible terms the arson against at least three churches following the controversy over the use of the word Allah.

We express our solidarity with the Metro Tabernacle Church at Desa Melawati, Church of the Assumption, Petaling Jaya and Life Chapel, Petaling Jaya, and other churches that have received threats, and to the Malaysian Christian community at large.

Nothing warrants such deliberately provocative violent acts, amounting to terrorism, on places of worship. Such violence however must not be seen as a communal conflict of Muslims and Christians. It is as much an affront to Islam and to all religions as it is to the Christians.

While we celebrate freedom of expression, no demonstration must be carried out to intimidate others who hold different opinions.

These acts are truly a blot on the image that we promote of ourselves as a harmonious multiracial and diverse society. It is also tantamount to an attack on the cardinal principle of the Rule of Law and the institution of the Judiciary who must at all times be left to decide on a case without fear, favour or intimidation.

We denounce those who shamelessly manipulate ethno-religious sentiments for their political gains. This sad situation has escalated due in part to the irresponsible responses from the Administration which appears to be practicing double standards.

We further deeply regret that in postulating their grievances to advance their agenda, those quarters have sought to convolute the real issues touching on the constitutional right of expression and to practice one’s faith and, with the aid of certain segments of the media, both mainstream and otherwise.

We expect the police to now pursue the culprits in the serial arson attacks with their highest diligence and professionalism. Until the criminals are brought to book, the image of the Najib Administration and his “1Malaysia” slogan will be associated with violence and terrorism. We however categorically reject the proposed use of ISA against anyone. The arson suspects must be charged and tried in open court to delegitimize their barbaric act.

We call upon all groups with different views on the issue to seek rational dialogue and reach consensus.

No issue is too sensitive for rational debate in a democratic society. The threat of violence should not be used to kill democratic debate.

We call upon all Malaysians to come together collectively:

o to condemn and denounce acts of desecration of any places of worship, now and in the future;
o to create a healthy atmosphere for the most inclusive debate, dialogue, deliberation and resolution of all issues confronting our multi ethnic, multi faith nation.

Regardless of the developments, ordinary Malaysians will stand firm as a peace-loving nation and support each other.

Endorsing Civil Society Groups

1. 1BLACKMalaysia Facebook Group
2. Aliran Kesedaran Rakyat (Aliran)
3. All Women’s Action Society
4. Awal Nahdah
5. Bar Council of Malaysia
6. Borneo Research Institute Sarawak (BRIMAS)
7. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
8. Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)
9. Centre of Education. Research and Development (CEDAR)
10. Child Development Initiative
11. Civil Rights Committee, Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (CRC KLSCAH)
12. Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre Bhd (LLGCSC)
13. Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform (CSI@Parliament)
14. Community Action Network (CAN)
15. Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM)
16. Council of Churches of Malaysia Youth (CCM Youth)
17. Durham Malaysian Scholars
18. Editorial Board of Horizon E-journal
19. Education and Research Association of Consumer, Malaysia (ERA Consumer)
20. Educational, Welfare and Research Foundation Malaysia
21. Federation of Hopo Associations Malaysia
22. Federation of Indian Non-Governmental Organisations
23. Free Public Forum (FPF)
24. Friends in Conversation (FIC)
25. Frin Jan
26. Gabungan Pertubuhan-pertubuhan Masyarakat India Selangor
27. Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC)
28. Hartal Mainstream Media (Hartal MSM)
29. Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf)
30. Indian Malaysian Active Generation (IMAGE)
31. Institut Kajian Dasar (IKD)
32. Institute for Development of Alternative Living (IDEAL)
33. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
34. Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM)
35. Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Perak (JKOAP)
36. Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia Sarawak (JOAS)
37. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
38. Johor Tamizhar Sangam
39. Kesatuan Mahasiswa Indipenden (KAMI)
40. Klang Consumer Association
41. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Hopo Association
42. Kuala Lumpur Hindu Youth Organisation (KLHYO)
43. Kuala Lumpur Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
44. Kuen Cheng Alumni Kuala Lumpur
45. Majlis Kelab Bell Belia Tamil Malaysia
46. Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram
47. Malaysia Indian Progressive Educational Society
48. Malaysia Lekshmi Pooja Meditation Society
49. Malaysia Tamil Artiste Association
50. Malaysia Tamil Neri Kalagam
51. Malaysia Thanavasiya Association
52. Malaysian AIDS Council
53. Malaysian Archagar Sangam
54. Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
55. Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates
56. Malaysian Ceylon Saivites Association
57. Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism Christianity Hinduism Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST)
58. Malaysian Dravidian Association
59. Malaysian Hindu Youth Council
60. Malaysian Indian Business Association
61. Malaysian Indian Development & Unity Association
62. Malaysian Indian Development Association
63. Malaysian Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
64. Malaysian Indian Historical Association
65. Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation
66. Malaysian Tamil Forum
67. Middle Eastern Graduate Society
68. Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN)
69. Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
70. myFuture Foundation
71. National Institute for Electoral Integrity (NIEI)
72. New Millennium Indian Business Association of Malaysia
73. Nur Damai
74. Oriental Hearts and Minds Institute (OHMSI)
75. Penang Du Zhong Education Society
76. Penang Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
77. Penggerak Belia MPSJ Zon 23
78. Persahabatan Semparuthi
79. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Selangor
80. Persatuan Aruloli Mandram, Malaysia
81. Persatuan Kebajikan Dan Sosial Kamakshi Wilayah Utara
82. Persatuan Kebajikan MGR
83. Persatuan Kebajikan Namakkal Malaysia
84. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
85. Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam Universiti Malaya (PMIUM)
86. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
87. Persatuan Meditasi Malaysia (Dhyana Ashram)
88. Persatuan Meditasi Projan Kuala Lumpur and Selangor
89. Persatuan Penduduk Taman Muhibbah
90. Persatuan Pergabung Tamil Malaysia
91. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)
92. Persatuan Silambam Malaysia
93. Pertubuhan Kesedaran Hare Krishna Klang
94. Pusat KOMAS
95. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
96. Robson Hill Study Group
97. Saiva Siddhanta Mandram Malaysia
98. Sarawak Central Region Friendship Association
99. Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA)
100. Sarawak Native Land Rights Owners (TAHABAS)
101. Sarawak Women for Women Society
102. Sarawakians Access (SACCESS);
103. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia
104. Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Kwang Tung Association
105. Selangor Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
106. Sisters In Islam (SIS)
107. Southeast Asian Centre for e-Media (SEACEM)
108. SPNS, Bidor
109. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
110. Sundararaja Perumal Devasthanam Klang
111. Tamilar Sangam, Teluk Intan
113. The Justice, Peace & Solidarity In Mission Office, The Good Shepherd Sisters
114. The Micah Mandate (TMM)
115. Thiruvalluvar Nanneri Mayam Cameron Highlands
116. Thiruvarul Thavaneri Mandram Malaysia
117. Universiti Terbuka Perak (Ureka)
118. Wanita Desa Sarawak (WADESA)
119. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
120. World Tamil Federation – Malaysian Chapter
121. Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
122. Yayasan Penyelidikan dan Pembangunan Pendidikan Tamil Malaysia (Tamil Foundation)
123. Youth for Change (Y4C)
124. Youth Section of Melaka Chinese Assembly Hall
125. Youth Section of Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall
126. Youth Section of Persatuan Wui Leng Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur
127. Youth Section of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall

Endorsing Political Parties

1. Democratic Action Party (DAP)
2. Human Rights Party (HRP)
3. Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS)
4. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)
5. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

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