PETALING JAYA: Federal and state governments should put aside their political differences and rivalry to work together to promote religious harmony and help ease escalating tensions, said the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham).
“Proham condemns all acts of violence and intolerance such as cocktail bombs, burning effigies, hate speeches, and provocation.
“The Prime Minister and Chief Ministers from across the political divide should jointly affirm religious freedom and call for a stop to threats, provocation, acts of violence, hate speeches and all other acts which incite hatred.
“It is sad to note that there are very few national and state leaders who have come out to denounce these acts of intolerance and call for peace,” Proham executive committee member Datuk Kuthbul Zaman Bukhari and secretary-general Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria said in a joint statement yesterday.
They also called on former prime ministers, chief justices and former ministers to play their part as “elder statesmen” to defuse racial and religious enmity and strife.
“Malaysia needs more bridge builders and peace ambassadors who will foster tolerance, appreciation and reconciliation.
“The authorities, especially the police and Islamic religious institutions of the federal and state governments, should adopt a more compassionate rather than legalistic approach which promotes and fosters the true spirit of Islam on matters affecting religious and cultural rights of minorities,” they added.
The association also expressed “deep regret over the recent efforts by certain parties to distort and orchestrate ill-will and misunderstanding” over the use of certain words in the Bahasa Malaysia and Indonesia versions of the Bible.
“The raids by religious authorities on minority religious institutions have raised constitutional questions. The actions may be deemed as unconstitutional acts, undermining religious freedom as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution,” they said.