“We have allowed and encouraged the different communities, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans, to develop and nurture their language, religion and cultural practices.”
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein declares at a conference in Kuala Lumpur that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government should be credited for allowing and promoting cultural diversity since Malaysia’s independence. Hishammuddin, who is also Umno vice-president, added that this was why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia was so important. (Source: Embracing diversity our greatest challenge, says Hishammuddin, The Malaysian Insider, 19 July 2010)
“I am concerned that the court decision will make Muslims emotional and attract comments from all quarters. I wish to remind everyone that we are dealing with a very sensitive subject and we have to be very careful.”
Hishammuddin, announcing the government’s decision to appeal against a High Court ruling that assured the Herald Catholic weekly’s right to use the world “Allah” in their publication.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court declared on 31 Dec 2009 that the Home Ministry’s ban against Herald from using the word “Allah” was “illegal, null and void” as the term was not exclusive to Islam. Furthermore, the ministry had failed to substantiate its claims that Herald‘s use of the word would threaten national security.
The Home Ministry secured a stay against the judgment in January 2010, and the case is still pending an appeal in court. It was the BN government that in 1986 first banned the use of “Allah”, “solat”, “Kaabah” and “Baitullah” by non-Muslim communities, even though there is no Muslim copyright on these words. (Source: Ministry to file appeal against Allah ruling, The Star, 4 Jan 2010)
“They also had no intentions to raise racial or religious tensions by using the cow’s head as accused by certain groups lately.”
Hishammuddin, defending the cow-head protesters in a press conference in his office. In August 2009, around 50 Muslim protesters demonstrated against the relocation of a Hindu temple to a Muslim-majority area in Section 23, Shah Alam after Friday prayers during Ramadan. They stamped and spat on a cow’s head during the protest despite knowing that the cow is sacred in Hinduism.
Hishammuddin said he was “convinced”, after his meeting with the cow-head protesters, that they did not have any political motive. He also defended their actions by noting that it was not the first time animal heads had been used in a protest. Hishammuddin said that previously, a pig’s head had been wrapped in the Umno flag and placed at the Umno building. (Source: Temple protest: Various parties try to resolve issue, The Star, 2 Sept 2009)
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