In a letter to Catholics in the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese, Archbishop Emeritus Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam said that he was "deeply aggrieved and saddened" over the string of recent incidents following Andrew's remark that Catholics would continue to use the word Allah despite a 1988 Selangor enactment banning them from doing so.
"It is deplorable that certain groups also wish to organise mega demonstrations and roadshows. These insensible actions by groups of persons have caused a great deal of unease, anxiety and even anger among Malaysians," he said in the letter, which was read out in churches during the sunset mass today. The letter will also be read out in masses tomorrow."The endorsement of such actions by certain political leaders and the unexplained silence of others only add fuel to a fire that seems to be spreading uncontrollably.
Pakiam said the politicians who are either silent on the matter and others who are supporting attacks against the Christians, were only making things worse.
"We cannot accept or tolerate any group that promotes division, discord and disharmony in society," said Pakiam.
He, however, said that it was heartening to see Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, who have stood up for the "cause of justice and peace".
"I thank God for the presence and support of these people who are contributing to Malaysia being a place where communities can live together peacefully, respecting and even appreciating the religious commonalities as well as differences of each other."
Catholics, he said, must continue to engage with authorities and push them to take action against provocateurs of intimidation towards minority communities.
"We must not forget to pray for our adversaries who have misunderstood our faith, since we all pray to the one true God. Let us pray that those bent on disuniting the people of Malaysia, will find the true path of peace."
The religious leader urged Catholics to remain strong in the face of adversities, while continuing to profess their faith with "courage and determination".
"Let us stand by and pray for Father Lawrence Andrew and other individuals/groups who are involved in this noble cause.
"We need to engage and dialogue with like-minded peoples, working towards building bridges and standing up against those who seek to use religion to divide this nation.
"I also call upon the faithful to pray for our leaders, especially our prime minister, to stand up with courage and be the leader to unite Malaysians of every race, religion and political affiliation," said Pakiam.
Andrew is being investigated under the Sedition Act for his statement which was made on December 27. His comment was taken as a direct challenge to an edict by the Sultan of Selangor that non-Muslims in the state were prohibited from using the word Allah.
On January 2, the Selangor Islamic Department raided the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia in Damansara Kim and seized more than 300 bibles in Malay and Iban languages.
The State Islamic Religious Department (Jais) was heavily criticised for the raid, which is widely seen as being triggered by Andrew’s remark.
As a response, Selangor Umno who threw their support behind Jais, said they would organise 30 roadshows in the state to explain the issue to the public.
Speakers at the third leg of the roadshow last night in Shah Alam, said that their only focus is on Andrew who, they say, was instigating Christians to break the law.
They also claimed Andrew did not represent the opinion of the majority in the Christian community. – January 18, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider