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Catholics lodge report against Al Islam

PETALING JAYA, 10 July 2009: The two Catholics who lodged a police report against the Al Islam magazine over an article in which the journalist took the holy communion wafer out of his mouth and photographed it, have started a peaceful protest campaign against the magazine.

Joachim Francis Xavier and Sundhagaran Stanley, from Penang, are asking Catholics to make individual police reports and to express dissatisfaction with the magazine’s publisher through telephone calls or faxes.

“We are resolved not to allow anger to guide our actions and instead pray that these ignorant will be forgiven by Allah,” they said.

magazine thumbnails       magazine thumbnails
Click both thumbnails to see full-sized scans of magazine article

The two lodged a police report on 8 July 2009 at the Patani Road police station in Penang over the article “Tinjauan Al Islam Dalam Gereja: Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad” which was published in the May 2009 issue of Al Islam. The magazine is published by Utusan Karya Sdn Bhd.

In the article, the Muslim journalist, accompanied by another person, went to two Catholic churches in Kuala Lumpur on an investigative mission to find out if allegations that young Muslims were being converted to Christianity were true.

The journalist, whose by-line in the article was Muhd Ridhwan Abdul Jalil, described the holy communion ritual as “upacara makan roti putih” and wrote about how he was given the wafer by the priest. The article also carried a photograph of the wafer with a caption that identified it as the wafer that was placed in his mouth.

scan of communion spat out onto the ground
Communion spat out and photographed for the article
(scan from Al Islam)

Xavier and Stanley in a press statement said they were “outraged that these Muslim men consumed it [the communion] only to spit it out later, have it photographed, and have its image published”.

The two Catholics said it was “total disrespect” for what Catholics regard as sacred. “It strikes deeps into our hearts and invokes much anger,” they said. Catholics believe that the wafer is the actual flesh of Christ who, according to doctrine, died to remove the sins of people.

“The ‘communion’ is held with great reverence and cannot in any way be mishandled or [treated] with a lack of respect. Even Catholics are not allowed to take home the ‘communion’ but are instructed to consume it immediately during the service. Catholics go through an elaborate process of preparing themselves to receive this ‘communion’ worthily and those who have not done so are advised to refrain from receiving it,” Xavier and Stanley said.

They said they wanted the magazine to return the wafer to the church authorities.

Ban “Allah”

The magazine did not name the churches its journalist went to. The writer described scenes of hymn-singing and exchanging of greetings among the parishioners. At one of the churches he went to, the service was in Bahasa Malaysia.

He noted that there were many Malay-looking people, but realised that they were from Sabah, and that there were many Filipinos as well.

He wrote that he did not see any Muslims being converted, but dwelt at length on the use of the word “Allah” in the priest’s sermon and in some of the hymn lyrics.

His conclusion in the article was that the ban on the use of “Allah” by Christians was valid because Muslims would be confused as there were differences about God between Islam and Christianity.

Xavier and Stanley said the Muslim journalist and his friend had “violated our sense of privacy to freely worship”.

“Would these men tolerate non-Muslims entering the mosque and violating the sanctity and holiness of their worship? All places of worship and the form of worship practised must be respected with the greatest sensitivity and reverence, be they the church, mosque, temple or gurdwaras.

“Entering these premises with the intention to spy and to violate the sanctity of worship only serves to incite anger and hatred that could lead to potentially dangerous consequences that would tear this country apart,” they said.

No comment

Xavier, when contacted today by The Nut Graph, said he lodged the police report after reading the article as a “concerned Catholic” even though the incident did not occur in his parish.

Police report thumbnail
click to open full-sized report

He said the Penang police told him that investigations would be handled by the Bukit Aman in Kuala Lumpur, since the incident took place in the capital.

The Nut Graph also called the Al Islam editorial desk for a comment. Its assistant editor Nor Shamsinor Baharin said the journalist who wrote the piece was on leave. She said she had been instructed not to comment or respond to any questions on the article.

Catholic authorities in Penang and Kuala Lumpur were not immediately available for comment.

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120 Responses to “Catholics lodge report against Al Islam

  1. MXVoon says:

    Outraged, saddened and devastated. My being and faith have been violated.

    May Allah forgive them for they do not know what they are doing….

  2. pkunkish says:

    Once again, Malaysia raises the bar for appalling behaviour, of which there is no shortage in this flailing nation. The message is clear: it’s okay to deliberately walk into someone else’s place of worship and be sacrilegious. What a terrific example to set for the peoples of this country who are already finding it hard enough to handle faith-related discourse and are prime candidates for religious disunity; with this incident of irreverence, we now have a model to follow should we intend to storm into mosques and temples and do as our petty, insecure and immoral hearts desire.

  3. stk says:

    Is this what [is taught] by their religion? What [does] Jais have to say about [it]? This brings great shame to their own religion and do you expect people to respect them?

  4. catholic says:

    An act by the journalist [that] totally disregards and disrespects other faith believers’ feelings. It also reflects ignorance of other faiths. Perhaps he should begin to learn about other faiths and their rituals. The spitting [out] of [the] holy communion is a sacrilege and it hurts the Catholic community deeply. How can the journalist do such a thing to us in his attempt to investigate his own lost sheep? He will have his “reward” when he disrespects and profanes against the holy communion which [the Catholic] faith tells us is the real presence of Jesus Christ. May God forgive his sin and spare him from God’s anger.

  5. KMTLF says:

    Jesus is clear: “But I say to you, love your enemies: and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt 5:44)
    We cannot hate these human enemies, and we must find a way to love them. But we need not show them any sign of agreement. We pray for them.

  6. Bryan says:

    How much more ignorant and inconsiderate can you get?

  7. potiukan says:

    I saw the magazine. I had tried to publish [it] in a blog but I can’t find the source online.

    These two people truly [have no] respect [for] other [peoples'] belief. Let’s see what will the government do? I guess they will keep silence. People should condemn them.

    Shame on you Muhd Ridhwan Abdul Jalil! Shame on you Al Islam.

  8. Karcy says:

    I believe in the real presence in the communion — ie. close to transubstantiation, but not necessarily a physical one — but this incident strikes me as unintentionally and unfortunately hilarious more than anything else. Of course, I’m not Catholic…

    Their observations made me think of the kind of thing a Martian would say if it encountered the human race for the first time. “Apa ini? Cebisan roti yang disuap paderi ke dalam mulut penulis!” *takes photo* *enlarges* *publishes for the observation of others*

    (Commenter wants to know: what happened to the wine?)

  9. flyingmeegoreng says:

    “Catholics believe that the wafer is the ACTUAL flesh of Christ”

    Woahhh…is it possible to lodge a police report against the Catholic Church if I am offended by this idea?

  10. James Tukau says:

    Report this matter to the Vatican [...]

  11. rachelrani says:

    Self-righteous, unlearned [people]. [...] Won’t make an effort to seek the Truth but stick to their own bigoted opinions.

    [...]

    Anyway, the “host” is not the actual flesh of Christ. But, it stands as a symbol of the flesh of Christ. Nevertheless, it is sacred and all Christians consume it with worship and reverence; remembering how the holy body of Christ was broken up for [humanity's] salvation – so acknowledging what he did for us.

    Believe it or don’t believe it, the Bible says curses will follow those who are unworthy to consume it (those who consume it without confessing and repenting of his/her sins). What more those who can mock at the things and commands of God. Let it be.

  12. megabigBLUR says:

    That’s really disgusting even if you ignore the lack of respect for an important religious ritual and look at it as just food. Would you like to read a restaurant review by a critic who published photos of his [or her] chewed-up, spat-out meals?

  13. marco says:

    This is outrageous. I am a Catholic. And I’m very angry with this irresponsible act and reporting.

  14. wan mohd aimran says:

    I am a Muslim. And I, too, am very angry with this irresponsible act and reporting.

    It’s despicable and unjustifiable!

    God knows best.

  15. Farouq Omaro says:

    This reflects the stupidity of the magazine and their journalists. I do not understand how using the word “Allah” in church or selling religious books in church violates Islam. What is the business of Muslims in a church? A Muslim shouldn’t be in a church, and even if he [or she] is, he [or she] should know that the priest is not talking about Islam, so no reason to be confused!

    Al Islam used to be a very open-minded and progressive magazine until Astora Jabat left and they got a new editor. I am equally enraged!

  16. Nick says:

    What the heck is wrong with these people? [...] Do we Catholics go to the mosque and offend them in any way? Why do they persecute us? This is a tragic act of irresponsibility, and will not be overlooked. And flyingmeegoreng, if you feel dissatisfied with the wafer as the body of Christ, go ahead and lodge a report. Lol. Just know that’s your facing 2 billion strong opinions.

  17. wendy says:

    It’s better for the magazine to encourage Muslim youths to attend mosque and religious classes instead of checking their presence in church. Didn’t the Prophet teach them to respect other faiths just like [during] the old times in Mecca? Why [have they abandoned] this old practice?

    How would the reporter feel if someone went to his mosque and used the pipe water for washing one’s body clean to wash pots and pans. Distasteful, isn’t it? Who would know whether there are Muslim among the parishioners or not. We only have one mission in church, that is to worship our Lord and have fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  18. Right2Choose says:

    If [we follow] “standards” used to determine a person’s religion in Malaysia, it can be conclusively deduced that these people have become Catholics for partaking in a Catholic ritual/belief. Thus the religious authorities should proceed to declare them “murtad” and they should be enrolled in religious training in their new religion to further deepen and strengthen their new-found faith.

  19. patrick says:

    May almighty God forgive him because he did not know what he was doing.

  20. Greg says:

    We are all God’d children.The sun and rain falls on the good and bad. The greater the sinner, the greater God’s mercy. [Jesus] broke bread gave it to his disciples and said, “This is my body which is broken for you. He [or she] who eats this bread will never die but live forever. Do this in remembrance of me.”

    So, it is not a symbol but his true presence. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” The Catholic Church has suffered many trials and persecution but as Jesus said, nothing on earth will ever [destroy] his Church. Amen.

  21. First and foremost, I am not a Catholic. But it does not take a religious person to question the total ignorance Al Islam has shown to other Malaysians of different faith. One can only wonder what if the roles are reversed, where journalists of the Herald infiltrated a mosque and published their “findings”.

    This is what happens when these people from Al Islam are not taught about other religions that exist apart from theirs, and [are not taught] how to respect every one of them. Again, religious bigotry is what this is called!

  22. TOMMY says:

    Taking the communion was totally unnecessary. Their action was malicious and mischievious. They could have just sat there during the communion and still achieved their aims.

    But are we going to scream for their blood? No. Instead, we are going to pray for them.
    Heck, these guys might just be able to go to heaven after our prayers!

  23. Tom23 says:

    If the government of the day allows this without reprimand, this could be the beginning of an inter-religious war. Historically, religious wars have caused untold sufferings and hardships and death. It will be horrific to have this in multi-religious Malaysia.

  24. Nicholas Aw says:

    There is a need for religious tolerance among the followers of the different beliefs in this country before the people can hope to live in peace and harmony.

    What was done by the Al Islam journalist and approved by his editor is beyond comprehension. I haven’t heard of followers of Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism or any other non-Islamic religion running down each other’s religion to the extent of being sacrilegous. On the contrary, they have even formed an inter-religious body to try and understand each other better and to promote religious tolerance.

    I believe that the reluctance in Jaim being a party to this inter-religious body is their fear of not being able to open their hearts to discussion. Perhaps they consider it blasphemous since they practise that there is only one God, Allah and no other God.

    Although I’m skeptical that an inter-religious body which represents every single religion in this country will ever materialise, I will not diminish this ray of hope as I believe that this is the best way to religious tolerance and harmony.

    Let us all learn to forgive the profane action of the Al Islam journalist and pray that God will be merciful to him.

  25. Petra says:

    This is the [utmost] disrespect that anyone can perform to the Roman Catholic Church! We consider this “wafer” as God’s flesh, divinity, spirit and humanity. This is the biggest sin in the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, being so, we are called to forgiveness, even if they do not want our forgiveness.

  26. Tripple C says:

    This is downright wrong — for someone to just barge into another religions place of worship and do this kind of despicable act.

    Think what will happen if we were to go into their mosque with haram stuff like alcohol. It’s the same. Why can’t they respect others like how they want us to respect them?

  27. Maria says:

    I am so saddened by the Al Islam writer’s lack of respect of our religion. Investigating the murtad converting into Christianity is one thing BUT why does he have to receive the Holy Communion?? Then spit it out. What was he trying to prove? He has gone too far by violating what we, Catholics, believe as the MOST sacred thing in our lives, the symbol of body of Christ. Our [...] faith has been badly violated!

  28. Joon says:

    I am not a Catholic. However, I believe that anyone in any religion with proper understanding of their religion will find this extremely disrespectful. Surely the Quran does not teach them this. The authority should really take action against the journalist to set a precedent.

    Why are Malaysian Muslims so afraid that their people [will] convert to another religion? So what if a Muslim converts or adopts another religion? If Islam is a good religion, then set the example and also practise it correctly so that more people will understand it and maybe convert to [Islam]. [Shouldn't] the Muslims in Malaysia be more concerned about the proper practice of their religion [rather] than people converting out of their religion? After what the journalist did, what would people think about Islam? I feel sorry for Muslims out there.

  29. nozz says:

    I don’t blame these people if they are the product of years of learning agama Islam through the narrow-minded scope of literalists who write our school textbooks. I’m still unlearning much of what I learnt in sekolah rendah and menengah – an arduous process, but I’m eager to get out of this intellectually-degrading rut I spent 11 years immersed in.

  30. faith04 says:

    I am very, very, very angry. The reporters have deliberately violated my faith.

    Is this what [is taught] by their religion? Can they just insult other religions in Malaysia?

    I demand [that] the authority put a stop to their dangerous act.

  31. Rav says:

    So what is the [...] government gonna do about this magazine??

  32. Fara says:

    As a Muslim, I am appalled and ashamed at the behaviour of my fellow Muslims. I would like the Catholic community to know that I am one of many people (I know) who do not stand for such behaviour and would therefore like to extend my utmost apology. I would also like to thank Xavier and Stanley for their mature and restrained reaction to this matter.

  33. Karcy says:

    Rachelrani, your view of the communion would be memorialism, popular among Baptists, but not true of all Protestant denominations, and is not the Catholic Church’s stance, which venerates it as the literally transformed flesh and blood of Christ. If you look at Scripture and early Church history, the early Christians very likely believed that the hosts were to be treated as the literal body and blood, though as to whether they did so to the extent Catholics today venerate it is a matter of debate.

    flyingmeegoreng, I don’t know if you’re a Christian or not, but if you are, you ought to sue Christian history then. The Greeks have a word for the transformation of the inner reality of something, called metousiosis, and this was likely how they treated the sacrament of the Eucharist/Communion. Transubstantiation is simply accepting metousiosis at a very physical level. Since Christians generally do not object when a kind of metousiosis happens at baptism, the fact that the wafers and wine transforms into the body and blood shouldn’t be particularly odd or offensive.

    And if you’re Muslim or atheist, then the whole Christian religion is offensive, so not much to do there.

  34. Sam says:

    Just mark my words. No action will be taken against the journalist and his friend.

  35. Sam says:

    rachelrani,

    The host is NOT a symbol. It IS the body of Christ – flesh and blood.

  36. tkwah says:

    There is no need to get any more excited than necessary. Muhd Ridhwan Abdul Jalil is simply asking for God’s judgement upon himself. Just leave him to God. Stay cool. Sit back and watch.

  37. marco says:

    I am saddened, and disgusted with this kind of intrusion. Don’t insult the body and blood of Christ…(the wafer).

  38. wilson says:

    Another example of total disrespect and disregard to somebody’s sacred religious rituals. It is nothing but sheer arrogance and a holier-than-thou attitude. It only goes to show their uncivilised and barbaric attitude, siege mentality and their constant worry of their brethren’s [and sister's] weak faith in their religion. In that case, these guardians should try to strengthen their brethren [and sisters] and not spy on others. Well, it speaks volumes of their upbringing and I’m sure the local Catholics will not take it to the streets, will not call for their death, will not threaten the country’s security, and will remain calm because we are Christians.

  39. Muslim says:

    As a Muslim, I can say that what Al Islam did was totally way [out of] line. They should apologise to the Catholics in Malaysia for their insulting report.

  40. repent says:

    The author has actually committed apostasy by joining in the holy communion rites. Behold all Catholics… please accept him as your new brother and forgive all his sins.

  41. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    There was little outrage when Pope Benedict [...] called Islam an evil religion. There was even less outrage by non-Malay Malaysians over the blanket Christian villification of Islam during the reign of Bush Jr in the USA, Blair in England and Howard in Australia. And perhaps even less over the treatment of Palestinians by Israelies who occupy Palestinian territory.

    There is something sinister about the “outrage being felt by Catholics” and the exaggeration of the “host” (the wafer) being spat out. That’s journalistic license if ever there was. [...]

    The journalist in this case takes in the wafer, preserves it for a photo shoot and then publishes what many non-Catholics are fascinated about. The actual host Catholics call the “body of Christ”. The fact that he partook in the ritual was in itself haram in Islam. That’s not considered here by either side. The fact he partook in the mass itself is haram and that, too is lost in the midst of [...] outrage in a highly-charged environment [that] Malaysia has become. The question that should be asked is did he also drink the wine from the chalice now offered in communion?.

    Accept that Malaysia’s diversity in religion and racial mix is the result of centuries of Malay and Muslim (of the variety then practiced) tolerance of others even though they served foreign governments and political philosophies to the detrmient of both Malay culture and Islam.

    A new generation of Malays having found their feet and voices are belligerent and not as accommodating [...] So what’s the fuss about? [...] That level of tolerance was taken to be stupidity and it has come to an end.

    Be a little more accommodating of each other and demonstrate your real Christian outrage by rallying against the West [....] each time Muslims are butchered in the name of the risen Christ or the USA. Be outraged by the morality of good Christians like Madonna, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears and their ilk because even Catholics ought to be offended by it. There is a greater danger there than there is in an experiment [with the] communion by a non-Catholic.

    [...]

    For my part, I hope the journalist learned something (if there was something to learn) about what Catholics do in their churches [...]

  42. Alan Tan says:

    All I ask for is quid pro quo, or collateral damage, so to speak.

    I welcome cross cultural visits and exploration. But… it must be allowed [both ways]. Christians and Buddhists should be able to wash their face and gargle at the mosque at the ablution area……….. If Al Islam allows this….. hey.. .why not?

  43. AngelBeaR says:

    Some people are just ignorant, disrespectful. May God forgive them.

  44. priscilla Law says:

    The Catholic religion has been practised side by side with Islam in this multi-racial [country] for many centuries e.g. Saint Peter’s Church of Malacca. Even in Britain, where many of our past prime ministers studied, there are many beautiful mosques. Many of the top Malay [Malaysian] corporate figures are proud of their La Salle high school days.
    I just wonder why somebody should want to question the doctrines of Catholicism when he is not a Catholic himself.

  45. mak jun yeen says:

    As someone who has grown up with a devout Catholic mother and [who is] living [with] my wife [who recently converted to Catholicism], I don’t know which is more insulting to Catholicism: the Al Islam article or the police report by Joachim Francis Xavier and Sundhagaran Stanley?

    From the reaction of the self-proclaimed Catholics here, I can only say that the police report by the two is more insulting to Catholicism and what it truly represents than the Al Islam article.

    You are supposed to have strong faith in Christ and if someone does not believe or mock your belief, you should be forgiving and invite them to a dialogue. Not make a polic report [as if you have] the right to speak for all Catholics and Catholicism.

    Joachim Francis Xavier and Sundhagaran Stanley are just the mirror image of all those police reports made by extremists whenever they feel their sensibilities are bruised when others talk about their religion.

  46. Kam says:

    Imagine, I pull the same stunt at a masjid. Joining the prayers and what not..and then write about it. I think I might even get an ISA treatment. As a Catholic (but yet to be baptised), I have not received my holy communion before as non-baptised Catholics are not allowed to receive it yet. In fact, anyone who is not Catholic SHOULD NOT be going up to receive the holy communion. [...]

  47. james au says:

    I am not a Christian nor a Muslim. But the disrespectful journalist who represented Al Islam magazine showed total disregard for [another] religion. Islam has always proclaimed itself as a “friendly” religion practising goodwill and respect to all other religions and races. But what this Muslim journalist did was exactly the contrary which makes me wonder whether he actually practises his own faith or has any idea what his religion is all about! I strongly feel that he should be sent to religious rehabilitation lest he brings more shame to Muslims. And very importantly, he should quit his present job as he has not displayed any religious maturity.

  48. This is surely the worst case of religious intrusion and [invasion of] the privacy of a religious faith. What was the actual motive of these two journalists? Can the Prime Minister of Malaysia please step forth and explain, how is his 1Malaysia ever to succeed if such blatant insults are levied against the Catholic community?

    This is not a trivial matter as some politicians may say, and the police must act immediately.

  49. Azeena says:

    Forgive him as he didn’t know what he was doing, Christ is merciful. Christianity taught us to be merciful and pray for those who sin against us.

  50. yb says:

    Non-Muslims must respect Islam, but how come Muslims are not taught to respect and tolerate faiths other than Islam?

  51. meesha says:

    While it is natural to first and foremost react with rage and “may they burn in hell!” sentiments, I think the best reaction is to forgive and to pray that these journalists will understand why what they did was wrong, and to learn from it. It’s what Christ himself would do, and he would expect the same of his followers.

  52. Isaac says:

    The doctrine of the Catholic Church does say that the “wafer” becomes the body and blood of Christ. Those who disagree are welcome to disagree, but please don’t misrepresent another person’s doctrine even if you think it’s bollocks.

    It’s like football, if the rules say 11 players it just is, whether you disagree or not, doesn’t change the rules.

    Thus, in light of these recent happenings, the question isn’t really whether this is the body of Christ or not, it’s the fact that doing this is exercising real contempt for another person’s religion. I mean, even if you did have contempt, couldn’t you just pray that the other person gets “recovered”. All religions have done just that.

    This “magazine” shoots itself in its own foot. Isn’t it a crime in this country for Muslims to attend non-Islamic prayer gatherings in the first place?

    To think that I would not do anything to the Quran even in private, even if I don’t believe a single sentence in it…why bother reciprocating tolerance?

  53. Ritchie says:

    It seems there are two sets of laws in Malaysia, one for Muslims, the other for non-Muslims. If a non-Muslim’s place of worship is demolished or descrated by the likes of these Muslim journalists, the authorities will let it pass. After all they belong to the same religion as the culprits. But if a crime or “supposed” crime, even one without any evidence, is alleged against a Muslim or Muslims — all hell will break loose.

    Like I have said many times before… the authorities should not take for granted the tolerance and goodwill of non-Muslims in this country. If such acts of descration continue, it will destroy the very fabric of racial and religous unity [in this country].

  54. Vince says:

    How low will some people stoop? The basic [principle in] all morals and humanity is to do onto others what others would do onto you. “Buat baik dibalas baik”, is it not? As humans, we can forgive. As Malaysians, we can forget. But remember, as a fool who desecrated against God, any God for that matter (to those who think that this is a Judeo-Islam problem), I wish the two of them a happy afterlife.

    [...] How will you ever know if Allah will give you peace after such a sinful deed committed to another religion?

  55. disgusted says:

    Utterly disgusted. We must stand up to do something to stop such horrendous behaviour. Do unto others that which you wish others do unto you.

  56. equally disgusted says:

    Doing this is bad enough. But feeling proud after committing a mortal sin? They even published it! What kind of people are these?

  57. chris says:

    The journalist and his friend should come to Sabah and learn how Muslims and Christians in Sabah respect each other very much.

  58. Azizi Khan says:

    Mark my words. This case will be marked “No Further Action” by the police. In fact, this “investigative reporting” (sic) by Utusan will be used against Christians by government-endorsed religious bodies like Jais.

    If the opposite had happened, the police itself will lodge a report and haul up the reporters under the ISA. How is that for fairness?

    I sincerely apologise to Malaysian Christians for this violation. I am deeply saddened by this incident.

    But every cloud has a silver lining. All these “Muslim” parties are potraying how “un-Muslim” and deviant from the religion they actually are. These are the actual “murtads” on display for all to see.

  59. James Tukau says:

    I am sending a copy of this news report to the holy father at the Vatican and the Council of Churches in the US.

  60. Raymond says:

    The prosecution of our Lord will go on and on. It will continue to do so until his coming. Let us pray for the ignorance of these people and ask our Lord to forgive them, I am sure this is what Jesus would want. God bless.

  61. ROBINSON says:

    1. To all those who disagree with the Catholic doctrine of real presence, this is not the forum to talk about it. Because that is not the subject, the subject here is the disrespect and an attempt to belittle our religion by two people.

    to Gopal Raj Kumar:
    2. Not once has the Pope said that Islam is an evil religion. You probably read some article in Al Islam. Which has on numerous occasions painted a bad picture of Christianity and Judaism.
    3. Whether a religious belief is acceptable to you or not, you still have to respect it. It is a prerequisite for respect to be shown to you in returrn. People in Iraq and Palestine are not being butchered in the name of the risen Christ. Did the US and British armies run into the battlefields after they were asked to do so by the church? No! By the way Do you have any idea of what the word secularism means? Try googling it.
    4. Do you know that the state of Victoria in Australia has an anti-villification law, under which two people who insulted got prosecuted.

    Do you know that Pope John Paul II sent greetings to the Muslim community in Rome on the occasion of the opening of the mosque in Rome, the largest in Europe. At the same time, the Selangor governemnt [under the Barisan Nasional] denied the right of Catholics in Shah Alam a place to worship. And it took a court order to get the church built. [...]

    If the same was done by non-Muslims in Malaysia, cries of “Keluar dari Malaysia” would be heard.

    5. I have been reading this magazine for years [...] A recent article accused Indian Muslim 24-hour shops of not being genuinely Islamic eateries simply because they have non-Muslim staff on their payroll. This magazine should be read by all non-Muslims. So that complaints can be lodged immediately.

  62. Karcy says:

    Gopal Raj Kumar, please learn more about Christianity before you condemn us for being “sinister”. To you, it is just a piece of bread. But for Catholics and many other sacramental Christians, it is more than that. It is eating God. In the Catholic liturgy, it is the highest point of worship.

    When Jesus broke the bread and took the cup of wine, he declared that it IS his body and blood, broken and shed for us as the forgiveness of sins. Therefore when Christians partake in this ritual, we are doing several things. Firstly, we remember Christ’s sacrifice and suffering for us. Secondly, we take in Christ in a very physical way; his blood and his flesh become part of us (especially for those who believe in real presence, i.e. he is in the elements). Thirdly, we remember through communion that we are part of a greater family of believers (communion), both living and dead, and that we will all be united at the end of time, with Jesus Christ.

    This is why it is called communion (root word: commune). It is we being united with God, and God uniting with us, and we being united with each other, in a very physical way. The Bible has very stern warnings against those who treat it with contempt: if you eat or drink in an unworthy manner, you can die. How we treat these items is an indirect way of how we treat God.

    I am a Protestant but I believe in the real presence (i.e. Jesus really in the elements) and I could not even bring myself to look at the photo of the torn up bread at first. It was like looking at the torture Jesus went through for crucifixion, and I don’t mean this in a dramatic way. If the Al Islam journalists were curious about the bread they could have simply asked to look at the unconsecrated ones (i.e. not undergone any ritual), you can eat as many as you like for that. There are also shops that sell them around town (but you have to buy in stock)!

    To those who want to use this as a way to threaten “social instability” and call it “dangerous” and whatnot, shame on you! Can’t Jesus look after himself? Yes it is important for others to respect the sanctity of our places and rituals of worship, but when the violation happens, we correct those in the wrong, and then we forgive, and remember that if any judgment is to be done it is God who judges, not us.

  63. Kamal says:

    The journalists and their editors are just plain rude. I hope there is a professional body representing journalism ethics in the country and that they will say something about this. There must be several violations of journalism ethics here.

  64. anak malaysia says:

    What say you Home Minister, Jais, IGP, our elected representaives of Parliament?

    Say something. Do something about the action of the magazine and the journalist. Your silence will only mean that you approve of what has happened.

  65. peacebwithu says:

    Let’s look at the bright side…we all know God calls us in many ways. They have just announced to the Muslim world that miracles still happen today…that Christ is with us today. Who knows how many Muslims would be curious enough to ask…to enquire…to be touched….Amen.

  66. Karen says:

    This is yet another blatant disregard of civil rights. It is indeed shameful to know that a fellow Malaysian would stoop so low and violate the sanctity and privacy of his [or her] neighbor’s beliefs.

    I am not a religious. I am not even an active Catholic and yet reading about this [...] act; this criminal, ignorant act deeply saddens me. Even if you are not a Christian, even if you do not practise any faith, this is an act of injustice against humanity. As humans living in such a diverse world, is it not our responsibility to learn to respect the beliefs of your fellow earthling? The social contract, built on trust and tolerance has been broken! How are we to ever trust again?

  67. Critters says:

    [....] [what's positive about] what I’ve read in the comments thus far is that some Muslims actually find the action by these reporters from Al Islam appalling and [have] even [apologised] to us.

    [...]

  68. Roflcopter says:

    Do you see people walking into the surau or the mosque [to] sabotage the prayers by replacing prayer cassette tapes with Pearl Jam cassette tapes?

  69. Vivian says:

    May our King Jesus forgive you. Amen.

  70. lionel says:

    Don’t get ahead of yourselves fellow Christians. This was the work of two misguided Muslims. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s nothing to do with Malaysia raising the bar and all that. Remember the old adage… and offer him your other cheek.

  71. Tinker says:

    The Lord wouldn’t want us to condemn nor judge the writer and his actions, for he did not make a mess in the house of the Lord. We should pray that he repents his actions, and the Lord will take care of the matter.

  72. Melanie says:

    What they have done only reflects the people they are and the religion that molded them, I do not believe that any religion condones such behaviour and to a certain extent people with similar beliefs as those poor souls who call themselves journalists are embarrassed to be associated through the same faith as them.

    Their acts have also degraded the work and dedication that journalist have for their jobs.
    Sad, sad day for Malaysia.

  73. Karen says:

    KDN should pull Al Islam’s [publishing] license!

  74. D Evil says:

    Put the journalist away under ISA.

  75. Fird says:

    Segala yang diatas adalah perilaku segelintir [penganut] agama Islam yang tidak kenal erti HORMAT…

    Sebelum saya melanjutkan komen saya ini ingin saya dengan rasa hormat memohon maaf diatas perilaku orang-orang Islam yang bertanggungjawab terhadap [penyamaran] dan [pencemaran] kesucian ugama Kristian.

    Dan wahai saudara umat Kristian, sesungguhnya ini adalah laku segelintir umat Islam yang pada saya sungguh tidak [berperikemanusiaan] dan ia tidak sama sekali mencerminkan umat Islam seluruhnya. Kerana saya sebagai umat Islam dan sebegitulah seharusnya … sungguh menghormati perbedaan pahaman ugama. Inikan pula [agama] Kristian adalah salah satu “Abrahamic religions”. Tapi perlu diingatkan disini bahawa setiap pahaman ugama harus diberi penghormatan … Wahai umat Kristian yang dikasihi… Sesungguhnya kita adalah bersaudara…

  76. do says:

    Am sure the Muslim community will take action against them for violating the practice of Islam by consuming the sacred host.

    Christ our Lord will forgive them …

  77. Kamali says:

    It’s interesting that the negative reaction to Al-Islam [comes from] the bulk of the commenters [who] have probably not even read the said article in its entirety (if at all). If they had, they would have discovered that the purpose of the article was to investigate the widespread rumours of the active conversions of Muslims in Malaysian churches (which is against the law) in what was done in a fairly unbiased and factual manner. That the article found no factual evidence of actual conversion (as the author implies that the basis for the unfounded rumours could have mistakenly arisen from the attendance of Malay-looking Indonesian, FIlipino, Sabahans and Sarawakians) and reports as such does a service to educate those that listen to untruthful rumours. Isn’t that a good thing?

    Not only that, in one of the paragraphs of the article, the author … wrote (quickly translated), “We were amazed by the attitude of those who attended. They were respectful and cordial with each other because of their belief in the concepts of love and respect. They held hands and smiled sweetly at us when the pastor said to be kind to your brothers and sisters.” The author also wrote about how punctual, orderly and well-attended the service was as well as the general pleasant spirit of the service. Surely a complimentary acknowlegement to Catholicism if there was any.

    That the journalist was willing to try to lift the veil on Catholicism in this country as something not to be feared should be commended rather than criticised as an effort in small steps of multi-religious understanding. To condemn them purely on a point of whether or not the spitting out of the communion wafer is sacrilegious fails to see beyond this point. That the journalist was open minded enough to find out the truth marks a change from the usual unenlightened “let’s just listen to the rumours because [they] must be true because my friend said so” approach which we Malaysians are so prone to doing.

    Even a recent similar event [in] … Canada, the taking of the wafer by a non-Catholic PM is not taken with the offence that it is here. Especially in this case as it was done for the sake of knowledge [and not] disrespect.
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2009/07/10/harper-communion.html
    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/663785

    Yes, while the [Al-Islam] journalist did also question in the article why the word “Allah” was used in both the sermon and several texts which were on sale at the second of the two services, it is because the use of “Allah” in non-Muslim texts and religious ceremonies in this country is for the moment, illegal — whether you agree with it or not.

  78. TJ Lawson, Sydney says:

    It is so sad that even today, such sectarian behaviour still exists and the Malaysian politicians are just quiet about it. That is not Islamic at all. In fact, not moral at all.
    The small group of Muslims doing such shameful things is hurting the larger Malaysian community, and will only cause more [divisive] misunderstandings amongst the people.
    Shame on the Umno government and ruling coalition’s Christian politicians who are mum about it. If such symbolic provocation is done to the Muslims in Malaysia, there will be a riot!

  79. doodles says:

    If the situation was reversed, there’ll be a bloodbath. Remember the Danish sketches?

  80. patrick says:

    We have to respect others to be respected. Surely if you don’t want such things to be done in your place (of worship), you should respect the sanctity of the Catholic church. The editors of the magazine are equally to be held answerable. We will not judge but God will.

  81. Karcy says:

    Kamali, the North American Catholics I know who heard about the Stephen Harper case were very upset. But Harper didn’t pretend to be a Catholic, and the fault is the bishop’s for inviting him up. And putting Jesus in your pocket is still not quite as offensive as putting Jesus in your mouth and spitting him out.

    It’s not like the Al-Islam journalists had no choice but to take the wafer. It is normal for congregants to just sit in the pews and refrain from taking. No one will judge you, they might think you are a visiting Protestant, a non-baptised Catholic, or simply refraining because you are repenting from sin. The reporters of Al-Islam should have the basic courtesy to look up the expected mode of conduct for non-Catholics in a Catholic mass.

  82. Robert says:

    Kamali, please think for awhile. If they were there for investigating conversions, why did they consume the communion? The eucharist has nothing to do with the matter they were investigating. Right.

    As for Hon. Stephen Harper, he is a Christian, an evengelical Christian to be exact. He still belives in Christ as a God. This is totally different from [...] the journalists’ belief.

    The agitation that the word “Allah” causes confusion among Muslims is purely rhethorical, there is no substance to it. The fact that the journalists could differentiate between a Christian book from a Muslim one although the the word “Allah” was in the Christian book is proof there is no confusion. It was the government’s mistake to ban the word without taking into account the views of those Christians who worship in BM, namely the East Malaysian Christians. Remember, the article states that “Allah” was only used in the church attended by BM-speaking Christians, not in the first one. The journalists’ revelation tht this was done in church which was attended by that community and the Indonesians proves the fallacy of this haphazardly decided ban.

  83. licot says:

    May the good lord have mercy on the journalist.

  84. sammie says:

    mak jun yeen, your comments are rather interesting. I’d like to pose a a question to you: As a wife and mother, if your child was raped or your husband was murdered, would you “be forgiving and invite the murderer/rapist to a dialogue” or immediately make a report and seek recourse?

  85. Taneug says:

    These so-called Muslims think they are making a strike for Islam and Allah when they do such despicable acts. I see them and [the] editorial board as childish, shallow, ignorant, foolish and an especially bad example of their faith. I can only feel sorry for people who think such acts are done for the glory of their God. To such people, religion does not bring joy but it’s a constant hassle.

  86. david ngau says:

    As a Christian (Roman Catholic), I take this as a challenge. Do not take any action on the matter. What we could do is just to pray for them to God our lord. Jesus always forgave people….In [Christianity], LOVE is first… [...]

  87. Anthony Tan says:

    As a Catholic, I think I will spend one hour before the blessed sacrament to help make reparation for this sacrilege done by the two ignorant individuals. I am sorry, dear Jesus, that this has been done to you. Forgive us.

  88. watthe says:

    No sound from the PM … 1Malaysia? Haha. More like … Malaysia? My1!

  89. Concern Citizen says:

    OMG! What an embarrassment and a disgrace to all journalist. Stupid fools. Are they trying to cause a rift among religions? The government should do something to prevent this from happening again in future.

  90. Frances says:

    ABSOLUTELY disgusting, disrespectful, unacceptable behaviour!

    Is this the way of Islam?

    May Allah forgive them for they know [not] what they are doing!

  91. John Bastille says:

    I can observe two events which, through history, are not surprising at all.

    Firstly, the actions of Al Islam’s two [journalists] [are supposedly meant to] reflect the true teachings of their prophet. He [apparently] spent 13 years in Mecca insulting and making fun of other people’s religions. Such brutish and crude mannerisms shown are a mere reflection of their prophet and thus their religion.

    Secondly, despite some Catholics baying for blood. I can see that many more comments call for forgiveness and love to those two [journalists] – who do not know what they did.

  92. edwin m says:

    Al Islam, I forgive you. Can we have the “White Wafer” back?

  93. Ken Ken says:

    May Allah forgive these narrow minded people for their ignorance. It only shows how disrespectful and insecure some people are when it comes to religion. Anyway, Allah will know what to do to these people because He will never want His people to condemn others.

  94. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    Kamali, I think you have quite analytically attempted to deal with this storm in a tea cup by a group of people feigning outrage at the so called desecration of the “holy eucharist”, the symbolic body of Christ represented in a wafer called the host.

    There is no evidence of the journalist “spitting out” the wafer. None whatsoever. And the fact that you point out he has lifted the veil on Catholicism and in doing so perhaps served to educate many on the religion (which remains a mystery to many) is evidenced from a diverse debate raging here (and I am sure elsewhere ) on the subject.

    The word Catholic itself means universal. The theology of Catholicism and its interpretations are themselves highly controversial, agitated daily and controverted by the very many diverse and diametrically opposed views of the theologians within the many enclaves of the Church.

    There are the Jesuits who are viewed in circles as the intellectuals and elite within the church. They are controversial and hold diverse and highly unorthodox views of the theology of Christianity of Roman Catholicism and continue to be viewed as heretics in some quarters. On the other hand there are the reformists who are viewed as communist sympathisers but are highly influential in South America.

    Receiving the holy communion (the ritual of receiving the host as this journalist did) is of itself not a sin or a punishable offence by the laws of the church. The church simply discourages those not baptised and prepared to receive the sacraments to partake in holy communion. That of itself is a contradiction in terms and a denial of the spirit in which Christ held the last supper which holy communion replicates.

    At the supper Christ said to those present, “Take this all of you (not all you Catholics) and eat it, for this is my body which will be given up for you. Do this in memory of me.” I won’t go into what he said about the wine.

    The claim he “spat it out” is an attempt to stir hatred and continue to fan the flames of anti-Islam, anti-Malay sentiments which has been the hallmark of an opposition who have little more than slander as a political ideology, as an alternative.

  95. Karcy says:

    Gopal Raj Kumar,

    I am disappointed that you think that these people are feigning outrage. Whether you agree or disagree with their beliefs is another matter, but the important thing is that within every belief system, there are some things that are sacred. Muslims would feel outraged when the Quran is treated with disrespect in any way, and as for Christians, they hold a high level of veneration for the ritual of the communion.

    For an understanding of how Christians universally, regardless of denomination, treat and revere the eucharist, please refer to 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. I also urge you to read up the many interpretations of the eucharist and its relationship to Jesus’s actual blood and body. You can start by looking up ‘transubstantiation’ on Wikipedia, and then follow the links there.

    The concept of ‘catholic’ refers to the Nicene Creed, which states that Christians believe in the one, holy, catholic (universal, united, or holistic) and apostolic (receiving the faith of the original circle of apostles) church. It is worth looking the Nicene Creed up and to understand how this is translated across denominations, aided by Christian history.

    As for whether the journalists with Al Islam spat out the wafer or not, that is up to Al Islam to clarify. If they even cared about how non-Muslims felt outraged by their sacrilege, they should have simply offered a simple apology and explanation.

  96. John D'cruz says:

    Dear Gopal Raj Kumar,

    It does appear that you have knowledge of Catholic beliefs and practices and you appear to be putting forward very rational arguments to justify the actions of the ‘journalists’. You should thus be aware that Catholics hold the Eucharist (the body of Christ) as the source and summit of their worship. If you take what is the holiest of the holy and desecrate it, Catholics have every reason to be outraged – and indeed, outraged we are. If we follow your logic, then it was the Muslims who stirred up anti-Christian sentiments during the Danish cartoon controversy ?

    I do see this is an attempt to stir hatred – by the invisible hands of those controlling the of the Utusan Group / Al-Islam magazine.

  97. Shocked Catholic says:

    So much for 1Malaysia …

  98. PES2009 says:

    In the future, people will have to show their IC every`time the Holy Communion is held.

  99. CN says:

    I am a Catholic, and human, so naturally I feel deeply saddened and angry. I wish to thank all Muslims who have voiced their objections and offered apologies on Al-Islam’s behalf and we thank you for showing solidarity to your fellow rakyat.

    I wish Al-Islam would not keep silent on the matter. If it is indeed journalistic reasons to investigate and inform, then stand up and speak. It would do much to stem the hatred and anger from fair minded Malaysians. If it is indeed ignorance or lack of knowledge about the sanctity of Catholic worship and what goes on in the church, then let them admit it lest everyone thinks it is acceptable to commit serious errors and cause religious tension. Therefore, the call for official action from the government is not to punish but to educate on the need to be respectful irrespective of beliefs.

  100. dei! says:

    Dei Mr Gopal Raj Kumar,

    You talk about theology la, differences la, what Christ thought la, what He meant or didn’t mean la. Does that make what they did right? Don’t [miss the] point. It’s just not on la dude, going to somebody else’s house of worship and desecrating what is most holy to them. Get it? Giving all sort of bloody excuses. Bush la . Madonna la. Does that make this right?

  101. Focus on the bigger picture says:

    Matthew 5:39
    But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.

    Everyone has said and done enough. Let him be dealt with by his Muslim brothers and sisters he has insulted by doing this.

  102. Jojo says:

    Some of you might know that the main road before Jln Bukit Nenas leading to St Johns Cathedral, is called Jalan Gereja. Somehow the E has become and A = Jalan GerAja. Honest mistake you think?

  103. Scunda says:

    I am a Christian of Lebanese descent. In Lebanon (and other Arab nations) the word Allah is used for God. There is no confusion amongst Muslims, Christians, Bahais or Jews. The reason for the ban in Malaysia on these grounds is weak.

  104. Lester says:

    I would just like to say how much I appreciate all our Muslim brethren out there who have come out and voiced their disapproval of the journalists’ act. Thank you for your respect of other people’s religion and beliefs.

  105. Stephen Francis Michael Chin says:

    Very simple. Forgive them, of course because that is our way and we PRACTICE it. Make them accountable for the violations and causing disharmony? Even that is being disputed by so called lawyers and intellects. To those who don’t understand, ask us and we will enlighten you IF you care to listen. We have nothing to hide and we keep the faith. This is not the first time and it will not be the last time. I end with “If your faith is as small as a mustard seed … (you know the rest!).” God bless and keep the faith.

  106. Aaron says:

    I pray for Muhd Ridhwan Abdul Jalil and the publisher of Al Islam that Allah have mercy on [them] for [they] do not know what [they] did was the biggest sin. For skeptics and non-believers, I too pray for you so that you will understand when you are called back to the Lord. For Muslims who have contributed to condemn this act, I pray that Allah shower you with blessings.To angry Catholics and Christians, I pray to the Lord so that He will grant you patience and clear thinking as anger leads to mistakes done which you cannot turn back from. Amen.

  107. David says:

    Why isn’t this story reported in the newspapers and the news? Why aren’t the public making a hoo ha? Why can the word “Allah” be a big issue when spitting the holy communion doesn’t receive enough coverage? Truly Malaysia is a disgrace! Persecution of the Church, bombing in two hotels in Jakarta in just two days! [Please] tell me I’m wrong about Islam [...]

  108. nirina says:

    I am a Muslim and I hate what they’ve done to the Christians. This is not what we have learned in our religion. Respect others is important.

    The reporters however are Muslim extremists. They think that what they’ve done is true. Frankly speaking, we, the Muslims are not even allowed to enter the Church! So for me they not real Muslims.

    I’m from Sabah and I have a lot of Christians friends. But that doesn’t mean I want to convert to Christianity just because of that. People will think that our religion is a bad religion – actually it’s not!

    I get along very well with my Christian friends because even though we [are of] different religions, we believe in one thing – all religions teach us to be good and respect others. There’s no religion in this world that teaches us to be a killer or a robber or other bad things.

    Let’s hope for the best because I dont wan’t our country to become like Indonesia .

    And for the Muslims extremists out there: this is not what we have learned in the Quran. Come back to the basics, then you’ll find your peace and may Allah swt bless you :-)

  109. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    The question of whether or not the journalist at the center of this controversy “desecrated” the host is a matter of conjecture. No one has defined desecration either by the Catholic definition of the word in the context of receiving the “Holy Eucharist” or by an universal dictionary meaning of the word.

    There is no desecration in any of the Canons of the church by such an act. There is no desecration in receiving the sacraments without preparation. Extreme unction and baptism are performed without holy water or holy oil on the dying (who are pagans) by Catholics who believe it their duty even where consent is impossible from the recipient of such inwardly graces.

    The act of receiving holy communion without having been prepared for it (the rituals before the first holy communion such as catechism) has been altered and radically varied by the Catholic church throughout the ages by decree or by convention.

    Jackie Kennedy of more recent controversy was allowed to receive communion even though her marriage to Aristotle Onassis was never sanctified by the church and the punishment at the time was excommunication.

    She however was powerful enough to have bought her redemption because of who she was. A Bostonian Blue Blood married to the most powerful dynasty in the USA.

    Once not so long ago, Catholics had to fast for three hours before communion. The word of God apparently changed to make it more practical and an hour is all that’s required since Vatican2. Perhaps if one considers the level of desertions and the growth in lapsed Catholics one would understand the flexibility of the church in such matters. No desecration, I say.

    Things change with the times and we have to learn to adapt. Someone who accepts the Holy Eucharist in good faith to prove a point cannot possibly be said to have defiled or desecrated the ritual and the host.

    The desecration here is in the minds of those who exaggerate the whole even for their own political purposes. It is in the mind of the beholder.

    The Nicene creed? [Please] narrow it down a little more.

  110. Grace says:

    No matter what we comment on the two uneducated and uncivilized people, eventually no action would be taken against them. This case will ALSO be forgotten. They have no respect for other religions but they insist others respect theirs. God is always Great! He knows what action is best for them.

  111. MSquared says:

    Al Islam has fanned the fires of religious intolerance by desecrating what is sacred to Catholics. Do not treat this lightly. Disapproval must be made public by Malaysian leaders and all religious leaders. Forgive by all means, but be aware that worse incidents may follow if the wrongness of what was done is not made apparent publicly.

  112. Celine Amirtharaj says:

    He was not only disrespectful but also INSULTED the Bread Of Life. There are comments below, which are equally disrespectful. We do not disrespect or insulted your beliefs. Why can’t you do the same [for us]? It’s despicable. Shame on you Muhd Ridhwan Abdul Jalil! Shame on you Al Islam.

  113. bulan says:

    Why do the two Al-Islam journalists feel so threatened by Catholisicm and conversion issues? Aren’t the Muslims constantly trying to attract people of other faiths to ‘masuk Islam’? So, what goes around, has to come around la, karma, that’s just the nature of this world what:) And if the Muslims are confident in their own faith, I wonder why they keep feeling insecure and threatened by other faiths and find a need to destroy a fundamental aspect of their own religion – peace. Christian missionaries or Muslim fundamentalists, apa bezanya?

    I’m Muslim myself and my maternal side of the family are Catholics. I take my grandmother to church because I respect her faith and am thankful that she still holds on to it and respects mine. Sometimes I too attend mass and I can guarantee that this act has not made me any less Muslim than I already am. My faith as a Muslim has not been shaken in any way. Just to say that I had tears in my eyes when I heard a priest recently call upon all religious faiths to come together and promote peace and he also called on Christians to pray for the well-being of all mankind, regardless of their religious beliefs.

    The church is progressing, Ii have every confidence that there are progressive Muslims in this world and in this nation who are also progressing, so Al-Islam, I guess maybe it’s time to hop on the bandwagon and progress with the rest of mankind also lah:)

  114. amazed says:

    Dear Gopal Raj Kumar,

    “… to deal with this storm in a tea cup by a group of people feigning outrage at the so called desecration of the “holy eucharist” …”

    You seem to be knowledgeable with your comment but you have missed the whole point altogether. How would you feel if someone desecrates what you consider most holy? Turn the other cheek? Seriously ask yourself that looking at a mirror. A desecration is a desecration and not another so-called thing.

  115. mh says:

    Snobbery exists everywhere. Here we have an example of religious snobbery coupled with fear. Those of little faith in their own kind and a great deal of fear that those Catholic types have nothing better to do. BTW Catholics and all the other good religions I know of don’t need ‘religious police’ either :)

  116. armstrong says:

    Dear Gopal Raj Kumar

    If you don’t understand the essence of Holy Communion, you are most welcomed to attend a church to find out more.

    And if you still don’t understand Holy Communion after attending churches, just ask some church members to show you which part of the Bible talks about partaking the bread and the cup.

    Holy Communion is not defined by the methods (lengthy explanation) but the essence of it. It’s a time of remembrance.

    People can do all sorts of things in Holy Communion time but the question is that, is it called for to partake and to spit it out just to cover a story?

    Jackie or Najib for that matter, can go and partake the communion and no one will stop them if they are trying to prove a point. But swallow it lah, then it’s between the eater and God. But he/she spits it out, then is disrespect.

    Holy Communion is not to be taken with “good faith” but with the knowledge of why you should take it. Unless you are referring to “good faith” in audit terms means as according to your own belief, it’s deemed right than it’s ok. Holy Communion is not about good faith.

  117. Karcy says:

    Gopal Raj Kumar,

    Not once did you mention the most important guideline concerning the Eucharist that is held ecumenically for all Christians, the direction by Paul offered in 1 Corinthians 11. Tell me, if you say no desecration happened, how did the writers at Al Islam obey directions pointed out in the Bible regarding the treatment of the eucharist?

    I do not like it when the Christian faith is misrepresented. A few corrections on what you mentioned:

    Catechism is not a ritual. Catechism simply means a period of studying Christianity in order to fully understand it before accepting it as a faith. If I convert to Roman Catholicism, I will have to undertake classes, and during that time I am a catechumen. This is a system instituted as early as the second or third generation of Christians, as the religion gained more converts. It just means ‘studying about Christianity’. Complaining about this changing is like complaining that the Sunday School changes its syllabus from time to time.

    There are seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church: baptism, chrismation (confirmation into the faith at an age of consent), the Lord’s Supper (communion/eucharist), the anointing of the sick (unction), penance (confessing one’s sins to one another), Holy Orders (selection of priesthood by ritual of apostolic succession), and marriage.

    Baptism is not necessarily done with holy water. Rome’s decree is that all forms of baptism are valid, as long as they are pronounced in the name of the Trinity. A baptism, according to Roman Catholic theology, is like the Islamic syahadah — it is an irreversible act — which is why some people commented elsewhere that if these two people had ‘pretended’ to be Christians and participated in a baptism they would, in a way, have become Christians (or at least made their first step as a Christian). The ritual is valid regardless of who performs it as long as the Trinity is invoked.

    (I think this is how some urban legend started about Muslims touching holy water and immediately turning Christian. Total misrepresentation of the faith.)

    Unction is a different kind of sacrament, it is the anointing of the sick, instructions of which is found in the Book of James, who was the brother of Jesus. It should not be confused with the ritual of celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Anointing of holy oil or water for sick people is not dropping the blood of Jesus over them, as anointed oil or water is just plain anointed oil or water. If there is the eucharist involved, it is, I believe, served only to Christians.

    The Bible does not institute fasting for three hours prior to receiving Communion, therefore you cannot say that the word of God (Bible) changed in that sense. The Pope, answerable to the Magisterium, declares new dogmas directing the Roman Catholic Church based on theological study of the Bible (Sacred Scripture) while taking into consideration Christian history (Sacred Tradition). Only some of his opinions are infallible, if they are declared ex cathedra. Anything beyond that is open to changes from time to time, but even if you take the controversial infallible business in, that doesn’t mean the Bible itself — the word of God — changed regarding this matter.

    If you can’t understand the Nicene Creed, then you shouldn’t be arguing about Roman Catholic theology, and whether these disrespectful journalists desecrated the host or not. The Nicene Creed states that the Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. The Creed was designed to *exclude*, not include, because when it was first declared it was meant to excommunicate the teaching of Arius, who theorized that Jesus was a special creature made by God but is not God, and that God is Unitarian. The Nicene Creed cemented the Trinity and set the pattern for the identity of the Christian Church from then on.

    Around the year 1000 the Church separated into East and West: forming the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church. Their definitions of the word ‘catholic’ are different. Eastern Orthodoxy treats the word ‘catholic’ as ‘holistic’, i.e. to have the whole truth. Roman Catholic treats the word to mean ‘united’ or ‘universal’, which means one institution united under one leadership: that of the Pope, inheriting the discipleship of Peter through apostolic succession, which was granted by Jesus when he declared that upon Peter “I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it” (Gospel of Matthew chapter 16). Peter set up the church in Rome and died there, hence ‘Roman’. All the Popes can be traced through a lineage of apostolic succession to Peter. Therefore, Roman Catholic = united under Rome. Protestants inherit the Catholic definition, but because we are excommunicated from Rome, we trust in the final Church that will come at the end of time, crossing denominations, and believe that through perseverance and faithfulness we will become part of it, so when we recite the Nicene Creed we think of the ‘catholic church’ as the final, universal church decided only by God.

    In no version of the word ‘catholic’ — Orthodox, Roman Catholic or Protestant — does it mean ‘universal, crossing the boundaries of all faiths’. You wish that the sacrament of the eucharist was intended for universal consumption — to put it plainly, it is not. The sacrament of the eucharist was meant for Christians, those who understand and accept that Jesus died for the sins (again, 1 Corinthians 11), and Muslims, who do not believe that Jesus died, are not to be included. This is for their own good, because we believe that anyone who eats and drinks of these elements are taking in judgment on themselves.

    And this has nothing to do with Catholicism and its Popes and Magisterium and Canon, but everything to do with the very first circle of disciples, when Paul declared in his letter to the Corinthians, recorded in the Bible, that anyone who eats and drinks of the Eucharist in an unworthy manner, without proclaiming the death of Jesus, brings judgment upon themselves. Failure to recognize that is completely ignoring the point of the eucharist. Not every Christian denomination will cry and perform rituals for reparation when they see that the host has been spat out / broken / eaten by non-Christians, but all denominations believe that it is a serious issue. The Church does not punish — it doesn’t need to — because God does, either in this life or in the thereafter.

    Sorry for the long comment, but seriously, if you want to comment on theological issues of other religions, at least make the effort to get it right.

  118. munirah hayati says:

    The incident is sad, it just shows how prevalent misinformation about other people’s religion is among Malay Muslim Malaysians. I understand the outrage by the Christians, and after all if this is done by a non-Muslim in one of Malaysia’s mosques there will be similar outrage & Malay Muslim public outcry

    The problem is we have only been taught to ‘tolerate’ other people’s faith – not accept them as they are.

    I believe Joachim Francis Xavier and Sundhagaran Stanley do not want their report to escalate into further distrust and ill-will among us Malaysians, they are merely expressing their disappointment and they do not want any more such disrespectful incidences to happen. Al-Islam should issue a public apology, and take action on their reporters and editor (who deemed it fit to publish the story).

    Even before this incident took place a lot of Muslims here are aware that a lot of their fellow Malay Muslims who do not mix with people from other religions/races (let us not forget how very segregated we still are) don’t have a proper understanding of their country mates and are miseducated/misinformed about them because, well, it could be limited exposure, or the government has all sorts of repressive Acts e.g. the PPPA which does not permit people to explore the many views of the world, etc.
    When information is held back, it’s only natural that suspicions arise.

    We don’t need an interfaith commission to re-write the Constitution, but what we need is informal, open sessions where people can speak freely about their faith and compare notes. :) Matters of religion are deemed sensitive in this country by the authorities, and if Christian Malaysians respond to this incident in an unwise manner, we will only give our leaders the confirmation that yes, religion is a sensitive issue – see what happens when these Al-Islam ignorants cross the line?

    We all must try to understand how their ignorance came about. Why is it so hard for these type of Malay Muslims to respect other people’s religion, and must make a so called investigation into a church to learn? Couldn’t they just ask the church’s committee – is it true you are converting Malay youth? Why is there the mistrust – that they thought they have to sneak in to get the answers?

    This is the underlying issue at hand, if Christians just show anger then it’s not going to change anything, the enmity and distrust will just continue.

  119. watthe says:

    Gopal Raj Kumar,

    You still don’t get the point. It’s not *your* house. If the Catholics want to believe it’s desecration, you don’t get to tell them what they should or should not believe. Just respect their beliefs. Just because you have different ideas does not give you the right to disregard it. Again, it’s not your house but theirs. What they choose to believe in their own house is up to them. You can bring up any sort of argument (which has been argued over and over again over the ages, so your arguments are nothing special), but if that is what they choose to believe, that is their right.

  120. PETER says:

    Thanks to the Muslims and others who took notice of this incident.

    As a Catholic who understands my faith and the sacredness of our liturgy as a way of communication and consecration to God, I really do think that what the journalists had done is totally uncalled for and is an act based on racism, prejudice, and ignorance.

    They should take a little while to actually learn some facts about Christian and/or other faiths because it would do more good than harm, in a sense that a deeper understanding upon each others’ beliefs can create unity and respect.

    Not to condemn or anything, but I have a Muslim friend who once said that from what he was told, our Holy Water is made from the amniotic fluid of unborn babies and are given to Muslims to drink so they’ll forget about their faith and convert to Christianity. of course there are a few more other shocking accusations like we Christians use black magic to attract Muslims to convert to our faith, etc.

    I think *people* should start to learn about their own members of society if they really want the word “unity” and “prosperity” to be realised.

    As to people like Gopal Raj Kumar, and to all those who disagree with the Catholic doctrine of real presence, this is not the forum to talk about it. Because that is not the subject, the subject here is the disrespect and an attempt to belittle our religion by two people.

    To Gopal Raj Kumar:
    1. Not once has the Pope said that Islam is an evil religion. You probably read some article in Al Islam. Which has on numerous occasions painted a bad picture of Christianity and Judaism.
    2. Whether a religious belief is acceptable to you or not, you still have to respect it. It is a prerequisite for respect to be shown to you in returrn. People in Iraq and Palestine are not being butchered in the name of the risen Christ. Did the US and British armies run into the battlefields after they were asked to do so by the church? No!
    4. Do you know that the state of Victoria in Australia has an anti-vilification law, under which two people who insulted [Christianity] got prosecuted.

    Do you know that Pope John Paul II sent greetings to the Muslim community in Rome on the occasion of the opening of the mosque in Rome, the largest in Europe?


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