Jan 9, 2010

IGP : Stop to all speculation over church attacks

The public including political parties, NGOs and religious groups have been urged to stop speculating about who is responsible for the attacks on three churches in the Klang Valley. Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said the police were investigating the matter and assured everyone they would conduct a thorough investigation.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan has urged the public and politicians to stop speculation surrounding yesterday's attacks on three Christian churches.

He gave an assurance that the police would conduct a thorough investigation on the attacks which came amid an escalating row over a recent High Court ruling allowing the Catholic Church to use the word "Allah" in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its Herald newspaper.

Tensions had risen in the past week with Muslim groups and some Umno politicians criticising the court ruling, and defending the right to hold public demonstrations despite the IGP's decision not to allow such gatherings.

Following yesterday morning's church attacks, demonstrations after Friday prayers were a muted affair with small groups gathering within mosque compounds for brief protests amid heavy police presence.

Umno leaders, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, have angrily denied they were to blame for raising the mercury in the "Allah" debate.

Musa pledged today there would be no cover up in investigations.

“There will be no cover-up. We have to be careful with what we say so as not to cause any unnecessary tension or uneasiness among the various races and religions in this country,” he said today.

He also pointed out that no one was certain yet who the attackers were.

The Metro Tabernacle church in Kuala Lumpur was firebombed at midnight yesterday and Live Chapel in Section 17, Petaling Jaya was attacked with a Molotov cocktail, causing some damage.

Another Molotov cocktail failed to explode in the Church of Assumption in Petaling Jaya at 4am.

The attack on the Metro Tabernacle church gutted its administrative office while a Molotov cocktail tossed into the Life Chapel damaged its porch slightly.

In addition, a priest at St Francis Xavier, a Catholic church in Petaling Jaya, lodged a police report over a caller threatening to torch the church.

Another pastor was reportedly manhandled by four men later in the night.

"We do not know their race or religion and for us to assume or insinuate it was the work of a particular religion or race or political party can be dangerous.

“We cannot allow such matters to escalate like what had happened in certain countries where churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship are attacked and destroyed,” Musa said.

The IGP added that political parties should not seize the opportunity to fuel the situation for their political benefit.

He pointed out that police had tightened security in places of worship.

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