PETALING JAYA: The organisers of the protest in Taman Medan wanted the cross hung on the church building to be taken down to prevent racial tensions from flaring up.
The group's representative Datuk Abdullah Abu Bakar (pic) said the youngsters in the community were worried that a church in their area would result in proselytisation among the Muslims.
"They were demanding that the church cease operations completely, but we managed to convince them to be satisfied with the church taking down the cross symbol,” said Abdullah, who is the elder brother of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
"You must understand, this church has only been operating for a week. And people are starting to panic because they hear stories that Christians would attempt proselytising their faith to others.
"They came to us and as the elders in the community, we told them we would help resolve the issue as we don't want matters to get out of hand," Abdullah told reporters after meeting the Petaling Jaya mayor, here, Monday.
He said the mayor had promised to raise the issue at the state level, and agreed to investigate if the church had permission to operate.
Abdullah said a few others and him had met the church representative during the protest, and had managed to resolve the issue without any problems.
"We met Madam Victoria, the church representative, who was very understanding of our predicament and agreed to take down the cross with no conditions.
"If the youths had it their way, things could have gotten worse. We managed to minimise the tension from this whole incident," he said.
Abdullah, who is Taman Lindungan Jaya Umno Branch head, said the issue was not politically motivated as alleged by the Opposition.
"This is not a political issue, let’s make this very clear. Yes, some of us are Umno members, but this is an issue between the community and the church.
"We stepped in because we are experienced and been living here for many years, and we know the fragile state of race relations in this area," he added.
He also said he had spoken to his brother Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and explained the actual situation after receiving a call from the IGP.
On Sunday, a group of about 50 protesters had gathered outside a church in Taman Medan and demanded that the cross be taken down, claiming that it challenged Islam.
Some protesters also said that the existence of a church in the vicinity was an affront to their faith.
The cross was taken down by the church management several hours later.