In 2010 at the height of the "Allah' issue, pig heads were found at mosques and now 'in time' for the 13th GE, again it's reared its ugly head.
Barely hours after the year 2012 rolled in, the strength of unity among Malaysians was put to test with the finding of five pig heads outside the mosque front entrance of the Masjid Al Falah in Taman Desa Jaya, Johor Bahru.
Hours prior to the pig heads discovery, the neighbourhood residents found plastic bags containing bones at the side entrance of the same mosque. The animal pig, is considered offensive to Muslims and its consumption is prohibited.
Whoever is behind this cowardly and dastardly act has moved into the new year with the wrong footing; be it an act of mischief or with the malignant intention of stirring anger within the Muslim community and provoking racial disharmony among the rakyat, this latest unscrupulous act calls for all Malaysians to remain calm and not resort to any knee-jerk reaction.
It is hoped history is not repeating itself but it seems to be so. In 2010, severed pig heads were left at mosques all because of the controversy surrounding the usage of the word ‘Allah’ in which 11 churches, a Catholic school, a Sikh temple and two mosques became targets of arson and vandalism after a court ruling allowed the Herald, the Roman Catholic Church’s main newspaper in Malaysia, to use the word “Allah” in its Malay language editions.
The Herald almost lost its publishing licence for using the disputed word and receive no sympathy from prime minister Najib Tun Razak nor the Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who decided to challenge the court ruling.
The Herald’s argument is that the Arabic word ‘Allah’ is a common reference for God that predates Islam and has been used for centuries as a translation in Malay. That however has not made any difference to the Barisan Nasional government, who succeeded in getting the ruling suspended.
The 2010 incident also saw the Metro Tabernacle Church in Kuala Lumpur was torched down, its ground floor completely razed.
The use of the word “Allah” to describe the Christian God is widespread in Arabic speaking countries including Lebanon and Egypt but the situation is otherwise where Malaysian Muslims are concerned – they claim the issue is sensitive Malaysia, a nation with large minorities and where they allege the Christian missionaries will use the word to convert Muslims.
Hardly a year later and the pig-head issue has raised its ugly head once again. Whilst it is an act most disrespectful both to the animal and to a place of worship, this latest incident without a doubt tests the patience of both the Muslims and their non-Muslim kinship.
Will going to ‘war’ over this solve anything? As despicable an act as it is, it provides no reason for Malaysians of different faiths to become enervated and question the love and concern they each share for the other.
Likewise, ‘fanatical’ groups like Perkasa must not politicise this most recent incident, crying for the blood of the non-Malays, accusing them as it does always, of being envious of the privileges enjoyed by the Malays of this country.
Opposition party DAP has condemned the latest dumping of severed pig heads. Its national chairman Karpal Singh urged Muslims to stay calm in the face of such provocative act.
Indeed, keeping calm and not running berserk is what is needed, for it is the antidote to sustaining peace and unity among the people.
The Johor police meanwhile has set up a special police team to investigate the case, which Karpal defined as the “most provocative act”.
Back in 2010, Umno was blamed for the arson and violence, a claim angrily refuted by premier Najib.
If back in 2010, the Muslims caterwauled over the court ruling favouring the Herald, one hopes such outbursts of anger have become a thing of the past.
The 13th general election is around the corner and this latest act of cowardice raises a host of questions: the motive behind it and its timing. While Najib denied Umno’s involvement in the 2010 episode, who is to blame this time around?
Whatever it is, such crisis demands maturity and not emotional reaction. And it is none other than premier Najib who has to lead by example, castigating anyone who tries to politicise this incident.
Perkasa, notorious for its condemnation of the non-Malays, must be forewarned not to play to the gallery, inciting the Malays against the non-Malays.
Malaysia has always been proud home to Malaysians of various faiths and despite the 2010 setback, there is little reason for the rakyat to doubt the sanctity of respect between her people of different races to quiver.
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.