Wednesday, 11 May 2011

In Egypt religious violence has started to erupt, pray that it does not happen in our beloved country

Across the seas in the Middle eastern country of Egypt, years of uneasy peace between Arabs Muslims and Coptic Christians have again broken out in the open:

Leading article: Dangers that lie just beneath the surface
Monday, 9 May 2011

The arrest of 190 people in Cairo, and the likelihood that they will be hauled before military courts, is designed to send a clear signal to Islamic radicals who would inflame communal violence. Such decisive action on the part of the Supreme Military Council, however, should not be allowed to disguise several uncomfortable facts.

The first is that, since the enforced departure of President Hosni Mubarak, sectarian tensions have grown. The clashes that precipitated the arrests at the weekend resulted in at least 10 people being killed and almost 200 people injured. But they did not come out of nowhere. They were the culmination of a steady increase in incidents between conservative Salafist Muslims and the country's Coptic Christian minority. There was a similar outbreak of violence in another Cairo district in March and the recent appointment of a Christian governor in the southern city of Qena prompted a week of protests.

When a Coptic church in Alexandria was bombed on New Year's Day, local Muslims came together a week later to form a cordon around that and other Christian churches, so that Copts could attend their Christmas services in safety. The same spirit of mutual support and tolerance was evident during the protests on Tahrir Square. This increasingly looks like a deceptively harmonious interlude.

The second is that the recent increase in sectarian clashes has been part of a general decline in law and order that the military authorities have been unwilling or unable to stem. This is fuelling speculation that Islamic extremists or remnants of the Mubarak regime, or both, are fomenting trouble in the hope of reversing the gains that were made.

And the third relates to the short attention span of the outside world. Violence in Libya, unrest in Yemen, and the ruthless suppression of protest in Syria have all claimed attention in recent weeks, allowing the impression of euphoria that followed the successful uprising to linger. Egypt may indeed be a better and freer country than it was, but instability lies only just beneath the surface. The time between now and the September elections could be perilous indeed. Source here.

Egypt: Fighting Between Christians and Muslims

A bloody conflict erupted after Muslims broke into the church where a Christian that wanted to convert was sequestered. Ten people were killed and 190 others were detained by Egyptian police in Cairo. Two churches were set ablaze.

The violence broke out because of a Christian woman who wanted to convert to Islam. She had been detained by several parishioners of St. Mina Church in Egyptian capital. A group of Muslims stormed the church to release the woman who wanted to change her religion so she can marry a “servant of Allah”.

The attackers threw Molotov cocktails into the church, located in Imbaba slum in northeast Cairo, and have gunfire was heard. Muslims were shouting “Allah! Allah! With our blood and souls, we defend you, Islam”. At least ten people died.

Television stations broadcast images showing Christian church in flames, pools of blood and several bodies in the church. Police and several dozen soldiers were mobilized to end the carnage. They fired warning shots and have resorted to tear gas to quell the anger of both sides. They could not prevent the fire to another church and several homes in the neighborhood. Around 200 Egyptians were in hospital with fractures and wounds from sectarian fighting.

According to a priest of the Church of St. Mina, quoted by the official news agency Mena, the Christian church would have been put on fire by the Salafist members of a fundamentalist Islamic movement. The army ordered ”all the 190 people arrested in connection with the events on Saturday night to be referred to the Supreme Military Court” in order to prevent a “group” to impose a hegemony in Egypt. Source here.

Additional Read: Christians in the ME: Widespread coverage of Imbaba violence

Over here, closer to home the controversy sparked by the Pulau Pinang's DAP invitation of 35 Christians Pastors from Sarawak had heightened tensions somewhat among politicians and religion officials with some making Police reports against the Utusan which carried the controversial story while others making police reports about the event in the dinner where the Pastors were invited. 

I say thank God that the general public is not caught up in and become all emotional in all this controversy and are likely to remain so as the politicians and some religious leader spewed fire and brimstone in defence of their party or church. I am proud to observe and say that majority Malaysians are sensible and tolerant people and will solve problems amicably in whatever situation.

 I understand that the KDN through the PDRM is investigating the matter and no matter what Utusan or the bloggers or Guan Eng, the DAP or Reverend Moon or Father Lawrence say, the truth will prevail. Let the police investigate and let the Law takes its course. Its also good to note that the PM will be meeting the Church leaders for lunch, that bring down temperature by a couple of notches. 

Lets pray and hope that this latest controversy is just a passing storm in the teacup and the PM has cleared the air in this stern statement:

PM: Islam's position clear in Federal Constitution

Wednesday May 11, 2011

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said everyone must accept the fact that Islam is the official religion of the country and that it cannot be changed in whatever form.
"This is because the reality is that we have the Federal Constitution, and its provision on the position of Islam and the other religions is very clear," Najib told the media after meeting with 22 Muslim leaders and intellectuals, here Wednesday.
"Under whatever circumstances, the Federal Constitution cannot be amended and as such, no one should be worried or feel uneasy on this matter," he said.
Najib said that during his hour-long meeting with the Muslim leaders, several current issues were discussed including the issue on 'changing' the official religion of the country as reported earlier.
"I normally meet with the Muslim leaders from time to time. But under the present circumstances, it is most important for me to meet this group and discuss the issue as well as other things," he said. - Bernama

With  matured and level headed leaders in UMNO/BN like PM Najib  at the helm of this country supported by majority non political Malaysians, I think as far as this matter is concerned, this blessed country would not descent into the Egyptian religious quagmire. InsyaALLAH.

Additional Reading:

Where everybody miss the plot

Priests have no business in politics

"Political" Father Lawrence refuse the plot!

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