Ibrahim Ali’s Bible-burning defence is even more incendiary

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PERKASA chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali has defended his call to burn Malay Bibles, saying that his remarks were to prevent Muslim schoolchildren from getting confused if they received the Bibles.

"A reporter asked me what was Perkasa's view on the alleged distribution of Bibles and I replied that the parents should just seize the books from their children and burn it. This is so that the children would not be confused.

"I was only referring to the Bahasa Malaysia Bible which has the word 'Allah' in it, which was distributed at the school. I was not referring to all Bibles," Ibrahim said, according to Utusan Malaysia yesterday.

Ibrahim's defence – or rather afterthought – of the matter should actually force the authorities to act.

His call for Malay parents to burn the Bible is an act of provocation that could have threatened national security.

And his explanation that it was only for Malay-language Bibles does not cut ice at all since the government allows the import of the Al-Kitab into Malaysia. Just check the 10-point plan that Putrajaya issued before the Sarawak elections in 2011.

As it is, is there any proof that the Malay-language Bible is being distributed to Muslim schoolchildren? Shouldn't he as a so-called Malay leader advise schoolchildren or their parents to return it to the giver?

Ibrahim's words and motives were clearly not to defend the sanctity of Islam but to provoke an act of aggression and cause hurt among followers of another religion.

Would the authorities have given anyone a free pass to someone for suggesting that the Quran or other holy books of other religions be burnt by different segments of Malaysians if they objected to receiving it?

For peace and harmony to exist in Malaysia with its many races and faiths, there must be mutual respect, not just tolerance. That means everyone should respect each other's religious beliefs.

What Ibrahim has done goes beyond the pale of reason and respect. It is nothing more than an incendiary act meant to provoke, not defend the sanctity of his own faith.

There are enough verses from most holy books for people of the book to act justly even in face of enmity. Ibrahim must learn that, and the authorities must learn that too.

To ask people to burn a holy book will surely spark an outrage. To condone it and say it is done in defence of one's own faith is more than an outrage – it is an injustice.