Muslim mob demands cross removed from Malaysian Pentecostal church

 

Muslim mob demands cross removed from Malaysian Pentecostal church

Author: 

George Conger

Malaysian Anglicans have rallied to the support of a Pentecostal church in Petaling Jaya after a Muslim mob disrupted worship services last week and forced the congregation to take down a cross mounted on the church’s facade. On 19 April 19 a mob of 50 Malay Muslims led by activists from the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the country’s ruling political party, staged a protest outside the Community of Praise Petaling Jaya Church for putting up a cross on its façade, claiming the act was a challenge to Islam and could influence young Muslims. The Tamil-language congregation removed the cross following the protest. Government leaders have given assurances to the congregation that it is lawful for the church to display the cross, but Pastoral Paul Packianathan said he would not act without written instruction from the state government.  Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last week said the police are investigating the incident and will take action under the Sedition Act if necessary. The Rev Joseph Vergis, vicar of St Paul’s Anglican Church led members of his congregation to the pentecostal church last week to express their solidarity with the embattled congregation. “We are here to show our support. We have friends who are here,” Fr. Vergis, told Malaysia Today. The Anglican church offers an outreach centre called the Beacon of Hope in the economically depressed district, and has educated Muslim Malays in its local school without incident for over 20 years, he said. The Deputy Inspector of Police, Noor Rashid Ibrahim told the Malaysian Insider “It has been decided by the state government that it was their right [to display a cross]. We will be monitoring the situation to ensure the safety and security of everyone.”

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