Monday, September 14, 2009

The Cow-Head Lesson for Merdeka: Deligitimize Violence and Hatred

Civil Society Joint Merdeka Message

The Cow-Head Lesson for Merdeka: Deligitimize Violence and Hatred

We, the undersigned civil society organizations are shocked, angered and saddened by the “Cow-Head protest” in Shah Alam last Friday, 28 August 09, against a proposed Hindu temple in Section 23 of the city. The carrying of the head of a freshly slaughtered cow, a sacred animal to
the Hindus, and the unveiled threat of blood shed on the eve of Merdeka celebration suggest that all Malaysians need to reflect deeply about our 52 years of nationhood, and the clarion call of 1Malaysia From the outset, these heinous acts of crime perpetrated by the irresponsible few must NEVER be seen as a conflict between the two faiths or the two faith communities. All major spiritual traditions, Islam and Hinduism included, uphold peace and human dignity as their common and core values. Our spirituality and love for humanity mandates us for the perpetual quest for peace and abhorrence of all forms of hatred and civil disorder.

The Shah Alam incident sadly reveals that violence and hatred are still inadequately delegitimized in our society. We exhort all Malaysians to unite in our joint efforts to decry and delegitimize violence and hatred to prevent any individual or grouping from resorting to intimidation or provocation when faced with any town-planning disputes or rows of similar nature.

We the undersigned, taking cognizance of the above, do hereby :

1. URGE that all disputes in civil society must be resolved through peaceful means such as peaceful demonstrations, rational dialogues, extensive consultations and legal suits. The Selangor State Government’s plan to hold a town hall meeting to facilitate communication and engagement with all stakeholders is highly commendable.

2. CONDEMN in the strongest possible language any act to humiliate and intimidate any ethno-religious community, in this case the irreligious and irresponsible display of a cow head. In the Shah Alam incident, not only the Hindus are humiliated and hurt but also all thinking
Malaysians – Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, those of other spiritual traditions and atheist. We particularly share the pain and anguish of the Shah Alam Hindu community.

3. URGE all religious authorities, community leaders and political parties to unreservedly condemn the perpetrators of the reprehensible “Cow-Head” act. Every racial and religious bigot should be shamed and distanced by the general public especially by their ethno-religious community which they seek to represent. Political parties must also take disciplinary action against members involved in inciting hatred. This would deprive them the pleasure and
gratification of self-righteousness and heroism. Legal punishment alone may prove inadequate because it may instead grant the offenders the self-perceived honour of martyrdom

4. SUPPORT a thorough investigation of those responsible for the “Cow-Head” protest for threatening violence (not sedition) on both the local Hindu community and the elected State Government of Selangor. Threats of violence, for whatever reason, has no place in a civilized
society. Violence must be condemned and can only be completely delegitimized when society has zero tolerance for it and every offender is appropriately punished.

5. EXPRESS shock and dismay at the failure of the police force to stop the protestors from issuing their threats of bloodshed. An independent investigation on professional negligence should be immediately initiated to examine these policing failures of a potentially fulminating racial and religious crisis. This incident among others further highlights the dire importance and urgent need for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). The IPCMC is a must if the Najib Administration is genuinely committed to peace in Malaysia.

6. CALL on all Malaysians to heed our plea to completely delegitimize violence and hatred and to strive towards its elimination from our public life. Let this be our joint resolution for our nation’s
forthcoming Merdeka anniversary. Let us usher in a Malaysia which cherishes the values of peace, reason, justice, freedom, equity and inclusion for all Malaysians.

The undersigned groups:
1. All Women’s Action Society Malaysia (AWAM)
2. Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)
3. Civil Rights Committee, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly
4. Civil Society Committee, LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLGCSC)
5. Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform (CSI@Parliament)
6. Coalition of Malaysian NGOs Against Persecution of Palestinians (COMPLETE)
7. Coalition of Selangor Indian NGOs
8. Consumer Association of Klang
9. Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) Youth
10. Council of Malaysia Indian Trustee
11. Friends in Conversation (FIC)
12. Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC)
13. Hindu Youth Organization, Port Klang
14. Human Development and Research Centre
15. Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM)
16. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
17. Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM)
18. Justice for Beng Hock Facebook Group
19. Kelab Sukan Depot Port Klang
20. Klang Vellarun Kalai Pannai
21. Letchumi Pooja Dhana Manbran Klang
22. Majlis Kelab Bell Tamil Selangor
23. Malaysia Belia Hindu Negeri Selangor
24. Malaysia Hindu Sangam Klang Council
25. Malaysia Hindu Sangam Selangor state council
26. Malaysia Indian Youth Council Selangor
27. Malaysian Hindu Dharma Mamandram Selangor
28. Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
29. Nadaraikia Sangam Selangor
30. Pamban Swami Maha Teja Mandala Sabai
31. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM (Lihua) Selangor and Kuala Lumpur
32. Persatuan Kebajikan Bharathana Selangor
33. Persatuan Kebajikan cahaya wawasan Selangor
34. Persatuan Kebajikan Nammakkal
35. Persatuan Kebajikan Vanniar
36. Persatuan Kemajuan Pendidikan Malaysia
37. Persatuan Pembaca Tamil Klang
38. Persatuan Peniaga little India Klang
39. Persatuan Penyelidikan Astronomi Selangor
40. Persatuan Prihatin Belia Malaysia
41. Persatuan Thiruvallavar
42. Persatuan Wawasan India Selangor
43. Pertubuhan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian India Selangor
44. Pertubuhan Kesedaran Hara Krishna Klang
45. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
46. Selangor Indian Video graphers Association
47. Sri Vadivelu Culture and Welfare Association Selangor
48. Sri Vaishnava Paribalana Saba
49. Suara Raykat Malaysia (SUARAM)
50. The Divine Life Society Port Klang
51. The Micah Mandate
52. Vishnu Periyaval Sabai
53. Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
54. 1BLACKMalaysia Facebook Group

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