Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, said today the Attorney General’s decision to let two Al-Islam magazine journalists off the hook for allegedly desecrating Catholic Communion hosts should not matter so long as the magazine has “learned its lesson from this episode.”
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders including the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and PAS central committee member Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, however, believe the decision not to charge the two may send a negative signal that the rule of law can be undermined by politics.
Khairy told The Malaysian Insider that it would be inappropriate to speculate on the reason behind the decision by the AG’s chambers to take no further action.
He, however, argued that the decision may have been reached to “balance out” the racial and religious tension caused by the “Allah” row in a bid to prevent further unease.
The “Allah” row had triggered a nationwide uproar among conservative Muslims. The tension escalated into attacks on houses of worships of both Christians and Muslims.
The attacks also tarnished Malaysia’s moderate credentials among the international community.
“I don’t want to speculate on the reason..but there are things that you can take to court and others best to leave it to other sensible ways for solution,” Khairy said.
“But I feel that whether or not the charges are dropped is not important. What is important is that people learn from this lesson and I am sure that the magazine has learned its lesson from this episode,” he added.
The two Al-Islam journalists had pretended to be Christians and took part in a Catholic Mass to probe allegations that Muslims were being converted.
In their article, the two admitted to receiving Holy Communion — which is in the form of bread which Catholics believe changes to the body of Jesus Christ through the rite. They said they subsequently spat it out in what Catholics consider an act of desecration.
A police report was subsequently lodged against the two journalists.
The duo were then investigated under Section 298A (1) of the Penal Code for causing disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will, or prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion.
It was reported yesterday that the Dang Wangi district police headquarters, through the officer in charge of the case, had sent a letter to the complainant telling him that the AG’s office would not be pressing charges.
No reason was given for the decision.
Lim said the decision not to charge the two indicate the lack of seriousness by the authorities to safeguard domestic religious harmony.
“The decision shows the AG is not serious in protecting and safeguarding religious and racial harmony in the context of a plural and multi-racial Malaysia,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
Mujahid on the other hand agreed with Khairy that it was not apt to speculate on the reason behind the decision to drop the charges.
But he regretted the possibility that politics could have been behind the decision to drop the case.
“They might have strong reasons to do so. It may be for security reasons but there has been much doubt about this (even if its true) as many of its (AG’s chambers) decision are done due to political reasons,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
The Parit Buntar MP also agreed that the decision may be connected to the “Allah” row and that it was done to prevent further tension.
But he said the authority should tackle the negative perception that it is upholding the law based on religious and political considerations.NIAMAH!!!