KUALA LUMPUR: The Taman Medan protestors should deepen their knowledge of Islam, where tolerance and respect are preached, instead of sporting hatred as shown during Sunday's demonstration, said the G25 group of prominent Malays that has spoken out for moderation.
"Like all right thinking Muslims and Malaysians in general, we are appalled by this mindless act of hatred and intolerance on the part of the protestors in Taman Medan.
"This abhorrent act of intolerance and disrespect for another religion and its place of worship has no place in Islam and deserves to be strongly condemned," said G25 coordinator Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin when contacted by The Star Online Monday.
Noor Farida said although she was currently in London, G25 members had been discussing the incident over WhatsApp and email.
"The protestors are obviously ignorant of the tenets of their faith and need to deepen their knowledge of Islam.
"The history of Islam is replete with examples of tolerance and respect for other faiths and their places of worship. To take one example, the Prophet Muhammad allowed a visiting Christian delegation from Yemen, which was led by their bishop, to pray in his mosque in Madinah," she said.
Noor Farida added that instead of protecting Islam, the protestors had instead done the opposite and tarnished the religion's image by their "crude, disrespectful and unreasonable behaviour."
"We urge the authorities to take firm action against the protestors. Failure to do so will embolden the religious extremists in our society and encourage them to think that they can trample on the rights of people of other faiths with impunity," she said, adding that there was no place in Islam for intolerance towards other faiths and their places of worship.
Apart from showing the international community that Malaysia was no longer a country where religious harmony and freedom was guaranteed, the incident may also have serious implications on the nation's economy as it might affect the foreign direct investment (FDI) flow into the country and Malaysia's tourism industry, she said.
On Sunday, 50 Taman Medan residents protested against a cross sign put up on a church building in the area.
The residents claimed the cross challenged the faith of the people in the Muslim majority area.
The cross was removed by the church soon after the protest.