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Muslim criticised over ‘cow head’ demo

Malaysian lawmakers have condemned a group of Muslim protesters who trampled on a severed cow's head in protest at the building of a Hindu temple, and remained defiant yesterday over the act.
In the latest religious dispute to erupt in multi-cultural Malaysia, local media said 50 Muslims on Friday took the head of the cow – a sacred animal for Hindus – to the central Selangor state government office and trampled on it.
The protest was against the relocation of a Hindu temple to a Muslim-majority neighbourhood in the state. News websites Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider published pictures of the bloodied cow head.
Around 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people are Muslim Malays, but the country is also home to large Chinese and Indian minorities, variously practising Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism, among others.
Lawmaker Khairy Jamaluddin, leader of the youth wing of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), criticised the protest as "emotional and insulting".
"[This] act did not consider the sensitivity and respect for other religions which is needed to maintain the country's harmony," he wrote on his blog.
"The act definitely will anger the Hindus and Malaysians," Khairy added.
Veteran opposition legislator Lim Kit Siang said the act was "deplorable".
"In a multi-religious society, the act of sacrilege to one religion must be regarded as an act of sacrilege to all other religions and the entire nation," Lim said.
State police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the protesters will be investigated for sedition, according to English daily Sunday Star, but the demonstration organiser told AFP they would not apologise and rejected responsibility for the incident.
"There is no point in us apologising as it was not our work. The cow head was brought in by an individual and we don't know that person," Mahyuddin Manaf, who led the group of local residents, said.
"Maybe that was just a way of expressing the anger. We just want the Hindu temple to be relocated to another area as this is a Muslim-majority area," he said.
Issues related to religion, language and race are sensitive matters in multi-racial Malaysia, which witnessed deadly riots in 1969.

 

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