(Photo: Protesters stomp on cow’s head, 28 Aug 2009/Samsul Said)
A Malaysian court has sentenced a Muslim to a week in jail and fined 11 others for a brandishing a cow’s head during a protest against the construction of a Hindu temple.
Critics said the light sentences on Tuesday may further strain race relations between Muslims, who make up the majority of the country’s 28 million population, and minority Hindus and Christians who complain of discrimination.
“Going ahead, this will become a political issue for the country’s minorities and further reinforce their unhappiness,” said James Chin, a politics professor at Monash University in Kuala Lumpur.
The 12 were from a group who had marched in August last year with the head of a cow to protest a plan to build a Hindu temple in their mainly Muslim neighbourhood. Hindus, who consider the cow to be a sacred animal, were angered.