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ALIRAN: Why Bible-burning poser is bridge-burning in multi-religious Malaysia

In a joint media statement, Aliran, Sisters in Islam and Islamic Renaissance Front have condemned Perkasa’s call to burn Malay-language Bibles as an abominable provocation.

We are appalled by the vile exhortation of right-wing Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali to fellow Muslims to burn Malay-language Bibles containing the word “Allah” in the continuing saga of the contentious use of the term in Malaysia.

This dangerous and reckless provocation will only court the zealotry of the bigots and consequently tear apart the existing fragile harmony among Malaysians of various ethnic and religious backgrounds. Religious conflicts do not get resolved amicably and effectively by rabble rousing and dangerous antics such as the proposed torching of the holy books of believers.


The alleged distribution of Malay Bibles to Muslim children in a secondary school in Penang (– yet to be verified – may have understandably caused deep concern among the Muslim community and requires immediate investigation, but it certainly doesn’t justify the burning of the Holy Bible. The provocation is mischievously intended to ignite hatred and extremism.
An understanding and appreciation of non-Muslim communities which is so necessary for unity and harmony cannot be promoted effectively by committing a sacrilegious act of burning holy books that are revered by their respective believers. In fact, this proposed act by Perkasa goes against the very teachings of most revealed religions including Islam.

The burning of holy books is an abominable act that cannot be justified. This was why the proposed burning of the Qur’an by an irresponsible pastor in Florida, USA some two years ago, for instance, received the well-deserved condemnation not only from Muslims but also from the majority of the right-thinking Christians and followers of other faiths.

This abominable call to burn the Bible becomes all the more despicable and sinister when it is intended to shore up the crumbling political fortunes of Umno-BN by manipulating the emotions of the Malay-Muslims, and also to divert the public’s attention away from the recent revelation of citizenship-for-votes in Sabah. Indeed, it is dangerous and mischievous to incite ethno-religious sentiments at the altar of political expediency. Additionally, it is feared that this proposed burning may provide an ugly precedent to the burning of other holy books in future particularly those of the Sikh community, which uses the word “Allah” in its religious texts.

In the interest of the future of Malaysia, and its ethno-religious diversity and harmony, peace-loving Malaysians, irrespective of creed and colour, must condemn this Perkasa provocation unreservedly. We must send a clear signal that the majority of Malaysians are accommodating and tolerant people who will not be taken in by this despicable act of recklessness.

Jointly released by:
Aliran, Sisters in Islam and Islamic Renaissance Front
22 January 2013

If your organisation would like to endorse this statement, please send an email to aliran.malaysia at yahoo dot com