Saturday, March 6, 2010
Archbishop Murphy Pakiam press statement
by Archbishop Murphy Pakiam
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MALAYSIA’S FAILURE TO ACT AGAINST THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR PUBLISHING THE ARTICLE ‘TINJAUAN AL ISLAM DALAM GEREJA – MENCARI KESAHIHAN REMAJA MELAYU MURTAD’, MAY 2009 ISSUE OF AL ISLAM
I have read with disappointment the letter from the Polis Diraja Malaysia, IPD Dang Wangi, wherein it states that the DPP instructs that there will be no further action on the police report lodged by Sudhagaran Stanley with respect to the recent article appearing in the May 2009 issue of Al-Islam entitled ‘Tinjauan Al Islam Dalam Gereja – Mencari Kesahihan remaja Melayu Murtad’.
I am saddened by the article written by Muhd. Ridhwan Abdul Jalil @ Erwanz. The journalist has displayed utmost disrespect to the Catholic community when he admits receiving and spitting out the Holy Communion, then photographing the sacred species and worse, publishing the incident in the Al-Islam magazine.
It is disrespectful and sacrilegious because Holy Communion is fundamental and central to Catholic belief and is always held in the highest honour. Indeed, we Catholics believe that during Mass the host is transformed and becomes the Body of Christ. And when it is in this form it is sacred. Its desecration is a most heinous offense. It is thus not only disrespectful but shows contempt for our belief and a hatred for the Church when our belief is violated.
It appears that the DPP’s instructions of no further action implies and conveys the message that no crime has been committed, despite an admission by the journalist of desecrating the Holy Communion. There are sufficient provisions in the Penal Code for this purpose.
If those in authority fail in their duty to take action against the perpetrators, then others will feel less compelled to act within the constraints of the law and basic civilised norms of decency, if this or like incidents are repeated. The lack of positive action would appear to legitimise the actions of the journalist.
The Catholic Lawyers’ Society, Kuala Lumpur did, on 27 August 2009, present a Memorandum on the matter to the Honourable Home Minister which was received by his Deputy Yang Berhormat Datuk Abu Seman. We have not heard of any action taken by the Government. This silence does not augur well for interreligious harmony and peace.
What is even more intolerable is the failure on the part of the journalist, the editor of the magazine and its publisher to own up and offer a public apology. Good sense must prevail. Such a modest act would go a long way to heal the wound in the Catholic community caused by their actions.
In this connection, the Catholic community in Silibin, Ipoh are also disappointed and carry their hurt feelings due to the inaction of the Police over the reports made regarding the demonstrations in the church compound by some unruly crowd in 2006. The Government must be proactive and take the appropriate action to prevent a recurrence of such incidences.
In making this statement, I am advocating greater understanding and foremost respect from all concerned. We live in a multicultural and multi-religious community. There is a need to be respectful of each other’s beliefs, failing which we will lose sight of our own humanity and dignity, the very basis of the 1 Malaysia concept.
We will continue to pray God Almighty to give enlightenment to all concerned.
His Grace Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam
Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur
Date: 04 March 2010
Today at 10:46 am
Islamic magazine Al-Islam has issued an open apology to the Catholic Church and Christians, which has been posted on the website of its publisher, Utusan Karya.
According to the apology, the magazine's editor apologised for running the May 2009 special report, titled 'Tinjauan Al-Islam Dalam Gereja: Mencari Kesahihan Ramaja Melayu Murtad' (Al-Islam visits church: To verify apostasy among Malay teens). Al-Islam said that the report had "unintentionally hurt the feelings of Christians especially Catholics".