‘Baffling’, rights group says of minister’s reason in Perkasa’s bible-burning threat

On Tuesday, de facto law minister Nancy Shukri said, Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for threatening to burn Malay-language bibles as the police had concluded that he was merely defending Islam. — Picture by Melissa Chi
On Tuesday, de facto law minister Nancy Shukri said, Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for threatening to burn Malay-language bibles as the police had concluded that he was merely defending Islam. — Picture by Melissa Chi

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — A minister’s decision to cite laws against proselytisation to Muslims to explain Putrajaya’s refusal to prosecute Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali for threatening to burn Malay-language bibles was worrying, said rights group Proham today.

It said de facto law minister Nancy Shukri’s explanation on why authorities did not charge the Malay rights group leader belies the image of moderation espoused by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“It is baffling to justify such a statement under Article 11(4) as a defence of Islam,” it said in a statement today.

“Proham fully supports the position adopted by Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah ‘that the Minister's argumentation does not reflect the true teaching of Islam and cannot be used to justify such statement from Datuk Ibrahim,” it added.

On Tuesday, Nancy said Ibrahim, who is president of Malay rights group Perkasa, was not prosecuted over his alleged threat as the police had concluded that he was merely defending Islam.

This was roundly criticised by lawmakers and civil groups, and drew outraged response from the Christian Federation of Malaysia.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Saifuddin both said that Islam does not condone such threats, and that calls to burn bibles cannot be construed as defending the religion.

The minister yesterday clarified that the decision by the Attorney-General Chambers to not prosecute Ibrahim was because the context of his speech was in line with the spirit in Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution.

The article in question outlaws the proselytisation of non-Islamic faiths to Muslims.

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