Malaysian Muslims charged for cow-head protest against Hindus
Six Malaysian Muslims have been charged with sedition after they marched with a cow’s head to protest the construction of a Hindu temple in a case that has stirred racial tensions in the country. The men were from a group of about 50 who had marched on Aug. 28 with the head of a cow, which is sacred to Hindus, to protest a plan to build a Hindu temple in their mainly Muslim neighbourhood.
(Photo: Protesters stomp on cow’s head, 28 Aug 2009/Samsul Said)
The incident has angered Malaysia’s mainly Hindu Indians who make up 9 percent of this mostly Muslim country of 27 million people.
Analysts say the protest reflected the increasingly difficult task Prime Minister Najib Razak has in narrowing ethnic and religious differences to win back ethnic minorities who abandoned the government in last year’s polls. “The trial shows how precarious race and religious issues still are in Malaysia, and how a small issue like the relocation of a temple can spark off a potential race riot,” said James Chin, a politics professor at Monash University in Kuala Lumpur.
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