MP’s call to burn Bibles heightens election tensions in Malaysia

By Reuters Staff
January 23, 2013

(A Sabah Christian reads from a prayer book with an Arabic word “Allah” in reference to God, at a church in Tambunan September 16, 2012. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad)

Malaysia’s Bar Council said on Wednesday an independent member of parliament should be prosecuted on grounds he called for the mass burning of Bibles as religious tensions flare ahead of a tight election which must be held within months.

Ibrahim Ali, the head of Perkasa, a group that champions rights of the ethnic Malay Muslim majority and has close links to the ruling coalition, was reported in media as advocating Muslims should seize and burn copies of Bibles which use the word “Allah” to refer to God.

That statement should result in charges under various laws, including those governing sedition, Lim Chee Wee, Bar Council President Lim Chee Wee, said in an e-mailed statement.

“This incident together with the contemptuous statement by another Perkasa leader against a judge and the judiciary suggest that Perkasa is allowed to behave with impunity,” he said.

The latter refers to a January 7 article written by a senior Perkasa member attacking a high court judge presiding over a defamation case brought by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Neither Ibrahim Ali nor the home ministry were available for comment.

The events foreshadow an intense election struggle as the country prepares for an election which must be called by April.

Read the full story by Siva Sithraputhran here.
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