Last Sunday, a group of approximately 50 people gathered outside a church in Malaysia and demanded the removal of a cross on the church as it was “challenging Islam.” This was marked as the latest example of religious intolerance that is breeding in the multi-faith nation.
The Malaysian Government is now facing increasing pressure to take action against the Muslim protestors who forced the church to remove the cross. Steven Thiru, president of The Malaysian Bar, said Sunday’s incident demonstrated a worrying lack of understanding and an absence of moderation.
“Intolerance and the absence of moderation deny civil liberties and are usually seen as indicators of a deterioration of the rule of law,” he said in a statement.
The action has caused increasing outrage among both Muslims and non-Muslims and has been addressed as a “mindless act of intolerance.” The local are calling upon authorities to take firm action against the protesters and promoters of religious intolerance.
Malay Muslim majority has peacefully coexisted with sizable minorities such as Christians and Hindus in the same country. But in recent years Malay nationalists have viewed the later as a threat to the Muslim community.
The government of Prime Minster Najib Razak already is condoning such actions and critics have said that the government’s real motive is to strengthen its leverage against opponents.
Members of the opposition have demanded the government to use law against such acts of intolerance and to prove its sincerity to sedition. Whether the protestors will face any punishment still remain unclear because the response of the government is contradictory.