As a journalist and blogger, I cant help but feel obliged to answer some burning questions from friends and readers about the issue involving two Al-Islam journalists. More people are talking about it. More bloggers are writing about it too and the foreign media is not excluded.
Yes, I believe the magazine should apologise to the Catholics for desecrating the Eucharist. As much as we want others who 'intimidated' Malaysian Muslims to do so, the Utusan-owned Al-Islam must not treat the issue as frivolous. This is a well-balanced Muslim and non-Muslim society where respecting each others' religion has been the pillar for unity and understanding.
When I posted similar comments on an article written by The Star managing editor P Gunasegaram last month, many demanded similar apology. If I am being senseless about the conduct of the two Al-Islam journalists, then I will be bias. I dont want to be bias as I am not as such.
I did write that Guna has not knowledge whatsoever about Islam and the Syariah Law when he wrote his article. The same applies to the two reporters from Al-Islam. They, too were so naive about Christianty. What they did (h e r e) was uncalled for.
Archbishop Murphy Pakiam said that the Church was willing to forgive the journalists, and would not pursue any legal action, if Al Islam merely apologized for the episode. But he said that the government's failure to intervene 'would appear to legitimise' the reporters' behavior.
Most of us tend to forget that this is a multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia. Even if you live in a one-race, one-religion dominant country, you still dont deserve to belittle other peoples' race, religion and colors.
If you dont know how to respect others, dont expect others to reciprocate!
On Wednesday, the Star has refused to publish Marina Mahathir's column on the caning of three Muslim women, weeks after it got into trouble with the government over a similar article by one of its editors. It spiked her weekly column because of concerns that such sensitive articles could jeopardise its annual printing permit (h e r e).
Now that there are calls by various parties for Al-Islam to take up responsibility over the actions of its journalists, they should apologise in the spirit of 1Malaysia. Yes, our AG has defended the two as being 'ignorance' while the Home Ministry did not take any actions at his advise.
Let's not prolong this. Apologise, and it will be over. What The Star did is commendable.
A few years ago, Dewan Ulama Pas had called for the boycott of Al-Islam for publishing an article titled ''Ulama Jangan Merapu'' (h e r e).