KUALA LUMPUR: Muslims in Sabah and Sarwak are uneasy about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s support of the call to burn bibles by Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali, a Sabah leader said.
“Telling Malaysians that it is right for Ibrahim to call for the burning of The Bible is not something Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak will endorse,” Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, the Speaker of the Sabah state legislative assembly, wrote in a blog posting on Wednesday. “Even if the Christians do not protest such statements, Muslims will still feel uncomfortable with something like that.”
The former Sabah chief minister said Muslims burning bibles to protest Christians using the word “Allah” is not a mark of respect. He said the argument put forward by Dr Mahathir that even the Quran can be burned is not valid as it is a different matter.
“Copies of Quran that are old and tattered and can no longer be read must be burned to ensure they are not treated like trash.
“Burning a Quran which is old and tattered is an act of respect. But burning the Quran as a mark of protest is not a mark of respect,” said the Usukan state assemblyman. “This is more so if it is done by non-Muslims to protest against Islam. The same applies to Muslims burning bibles to protest against Christians using “Allah” in The Bible. This is not meant as a mark of respect like Muslims burning old and tattered Quran,” Salleh said.
He said the authorities should be putting the issue to bed rather than continuing to fan the flames and inciting racial hatred.
Salleh also said Dr Mahathir should be the voice of liberalism, not extremism.
On Wednesday, Dr Mahathir said it was not an issue calling for the bible to be burned as long as there are good intentions.
The former prime minister, a patron of Perkasa, said Islam also allows for the Quran to be burned and not discarded all over the place, or to be stepped on, if it is no longer used.
“We always burn the Quran, when it is old and no longer in use. What is sure is that we cannot throw it around,” Dr Mahathir said.
“So, burning the Quran with good intentions is not a problem,” he said when asked to comment on Ibrahim’s call to burn bibles which use the word Allah. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 31, 2014.