Friday, December 7, 2007

US panel concerned at Malaysian temple destruction

from Agence France-Presse (France)

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the administration of President George W. Bush to raise the matter with Kuala Lumpur and "insist that immediate measures be taken to protect sacred sites and prevent further destruction." The commission said it was "concerned" by recent Malaysian government actions against the ethnic Indian Hindu minority "curtailing their human rights, including the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion ... At least 8,000 ethnic Indians protested in the streets of Kuala Lumpur about two weeks ago to highlight racial and religious discrimination by the Muslim Malay-dominated government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ... The US commission, a non-partisan panel appointed by the US president and leaders of Congress, noted that in late October, Malaysian authorities demolished a 100-year-old temple and reportedly assaulted its chief priest. Just this week, another temple in Malacca state was demolished by local authorities despite having received a "stay order" from state officials, the commission said. The commission also said that Kuala Lumpur's Islamic courts have expanded their jurisdiction in recent years, threatening secular Malaysia's civil courts and the country's commitment to religious pluralism.

No comments: