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Umno, PAS unite to defend Islam

 | September 21, 2012

The two rivals held simultaneous protests against the anti-Islam film.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Archrivals Umno and PAS today stood united against the controversial anti-Islam film, holding two simultaneous protests here.

They joined in the firestorm of protests sweeping across the Muslim world after the American-made video mocking the Prophet Muhammad went viral on the Internet recently.

The ceasefire comes amid soaring temperatures as the two jostled for dominance just ahead of key national polls, but, in a rare display of unity, both agreed to “cease fire”, with leaders from the respective parties urging each other to shed their differences and defend Islam.

The protests, however, were held at two distant locations within the city centre but both drew large crowds in the thousands who thronged the streets with angry chants of “Allahuakbar (God is great)” and “down with America and Zionism”.

On the PAS side, some 5,000 members from the Islamist party and its ally in Pakatan Rakyat, PKR, gathered at the US Embassy here immediately after Friday prayers with some 200 policemen watching closely.

“This is not only about Islam, this is about humanity. Anyone who insults the religion of others is insulting humanity as a whole,” said PKR’s Tian Chua, who was among the few Pakatan leaders who turned up at the rally.

“This is an issue about the dignity of Malaysia [which sees Islam as its official religion] and this [provocation] must stop. We urge the US and any other governments to defend the dignity of Islam and other religions,” he said.

The US Embassy yesterday said it would close its office today after it learnt that the protest would take place near its building here.

Violent reactions over the video in the volatile Middle East had left several Americans dead including the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, who was murdered after Islamists gunmen reportedly attacked the US consulate there on Sept 12.

Where’s DAP?

The protests by PAS and its allies, however, took place peacefully. Its leaders had earlier said that they do not condone violence despite the provocation and had promised to observe the laws when holding today’s gathering.

But some of the leaders at the rally warned that “Muslims’ patience has its limits” and promised more action if more attempts to insult Islam are made in the future.

Meanwhile, the protest held by Umno Youth just 5km away at the Jamek Mosque in Kampung Baru, drew some 2,000 supporters who filled the air with anti-US and Israel chants.

Speaking before the crowd, its chief Khairy Jamaluddin said Muslims in Malaysia stood united in condemning the video as well as the French comic that mocked Prophet Muhammad.

He also praised PAS for droping their political differences in the name of Islam and urged them to leave Pakatan as its predominantly Chinese ally, DAP, had allegedly failed to lend support.

Perak DAP chief Ngeh Koo Ham sparked an uproar recently when he said on his Twitter posting that the protest against the video was “a waste of time”. The Beruas MP later retracted his statement and apologised.

But Khairy said despite the apology, the DAP had not shown any solidarity with its Muslim allies and has remained quiet on the video.

“We are in solidarity with PAS, unlike its political allies,” said Khairy.

Also read:

Khairy ajak PAS keluar Pakatan

Ribuan umat Islam ‘menyerbu’ Kedutaan Amerika

PAS kemuka 4 tuntutan kepada AS


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