Sunday, July 21

Half million for bombed church

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PM says allocation for reconstruction of house of worship at a new locality

GIVING ASSURANCE: Najib speaking to reporters during a visit to the Metro Tabernacle Church and after observing the destruction caused by the fire bomb.  — Bernama photo

GIVING ASSURANCE: Najib speaking to reporters during a visit to the Metro Tabernacle Church and after observing the destruction caused by the fire bomb. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk  Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday announced an allocation of RM500,000 for the reconstruction of the Metro Tabernacle Church at Desa Melawati which was damaged by a fire bomb on Friday.

The prime minister said the allocation was to show the government’s sympathy over the incident and the money would be channelled to the Assembly of God so that they could build the church in a new area.

“This is the government’s support… this is a sign of the government’s sincerity and I hope everyone will remain calm. The government is deeply committed to maintain harmony and cordial relations between the various races and religions in our country,” he told reporters after visiting the church. His assurance was applauded by the people who were present outside the church.

Najib, who was accompanied by several cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, spent 15 minutes at the church to examine the destruction caused by the fire bomb.
More than 1,000 people, comprising church members and local residents, scrambled to shake the prime minister’s hand immediately after he had inspected the damage done to the church.

Najib, who arrived at the church at 5pm, said his visit showed that the government took a serious view of the incident.

“Acts such as the burning of the house of worship of the other religions are a heinous act…not only in terms of the law…even in Islam we are prohibited by the religion to commit such an act. As such, the prime minister hoped that everyone would refrain from doing such monstrous acts.

“We must show that Malaysians are responsible people and wish to live in peace and harmony among the various races and religions in the country,” he said.

Asked efforts by the government to find a solution to the issue, whilst there were groups who were still making various allegations against the government, Najib said the groups concerned had their own political agenda.

“Of course they make allegations…this is what is called ‘spinning’. They make accusations because they have political agendas. I abhor such an act because we cannot politicise such incidents. We must adopt a responsible attitude to maintain peace and find the best solution to the problem,” he said.

Asked whether the government would also give allocations to the other churches attacked, Najib said: “This church (Metro Tabernacle) is first because it is the worst affected.”

Meanwhile, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who also inspected the damaged church, said he believed those prepared to do such an act were ignorant about Islam and it totally did not reflect the true teachings of Islam.

“This is contrary to Islamic teachings which prevent Muslims from disturbing the houses of worship of the other religions,” he said.

Thus PAS strongly condemned the acts by the irresponsible groups which tainted the image of Islam and affected harmony between the various faiths in the country, he added. — Bernama