Saturday, June 24, 2006

Foreign Backing Against Temple Demolition

Update: Zafar Anjum has informed me that after sending my letter to PM Manmohan Singh to the Singaporean newspaper Today, the publication has since begun to cover the issue.


From Malaysiakini
Foreign backing against temple demolition
Andrew Ong Jun 24, 06 3:28pm

At least three groups overseas have attempted to convey their concern to the Malaysian government about the spate of Hindu temple demolitions of late.

The Agni Foundation, representing the Dutch Hindu Community, held a meeting on May 19 with Malaysia's Ambassador to Holland Noor Farida Ariffin to discuss the issue.

In a report made available to malaysiakini, the foundation said that Noor Farida dismissed claims that the Malaysian government ignored the sensitivities of the Hindu community by demolishing the Sri Kaliamman temple in Kuala Lumpur on April 20.

Furthermore, the ambassador was also believed to have said in the meeting that Kuala Lumpur City Hall's actions were condoned by the Malaysia Hindu Sangam and that Hindus MPs did not voice their protest about the matter.

The report added that the ambassador promised to provide the foundation the 'true facts' of the matter.

"This reaction of the embassy was predictable," summed up the report.

Report to UN

Meanwhile, the Federation of Human Rights Organisations of India (FHROI) submitted a protest letter on the matter to the High Commissioner of Malaysia in New Dehli on June 2.

The letter condemned the demolition of the Sri Kaliamman temple as well as the intended demolition of the Sri Maha Mariamman in Senawang, Negeri Sembilan. Sharma also quoted Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - both provisions to an individual's right to freedom of religion.

"The Hindus in Malaysia have been dwelling there for centuries, living in a most peaceful and harmonious manner, yet the Malaysian government has chosen to deny them the minimum human rights guaranteed by the United Nations. Such
action is retrograde and barbarian," said Sharma.

Apart from requesting Malaysia to desist from any such action on Hindu temples, failing which they will lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations.

Write to AG

Regional human rights watchdog the Asian Human Rights Commission has launched a write-in campaign to the Malaysian Attorney-General as an urgent appeal over the issue.

"As the person responsible for instituting criminal proceedings against any subject who has committed a crime, the Attorney-General must act immediately and bring justice to those who have ordered and those who carried out the destruction of Hindu temples," said the commission on its website.

The commission blasted the Malaysian government over the demolition of the Sri Muniswara Alayam temple in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur which involved the use of force on devotees of the temple.

"Simple government intervention would have prevented this from occurring, but this was not done. Evidently, the government failed to intervene in order to aid a private developer pursuing commercial interest," it said.

The 60-year-old Muniswara temple near Jalan Ayer Madu in Setapak, northeast of Kuala Lumpur, was located on the path of the soon-to-be-completed Damansara Ulu Kelang Expressway (Duke).

"Furthermore, and of greater significance, the government failed to intervene in order to belittle the Hindu worshippers who used the temple, as alternative arrangements have been made in similar circumstances where Muslim followers were involved," it added.

Kuala Lumpur is set to see a temporary respite from demolitions as a MIC-backed committee will buy time to negotiate terms of temple relocation and demolishment with the respective stakeholders.

Opponents to the plan said that a permanent solution to the problem ought to be sought and that the threat of more temple demolition looms in other states.

A internet search by malaysiakini showed that this controversial issue has drawn the attention of the press in many parts of the world.


Anonymous Shree said...

Sharanya, I'm a little bit peeved for you. You were the ONLY ONE to speak out when no on else dared to, you were the first to really make it an international issue. And have it picked up in blogs. These newspapers and groups should be thanking you instead of making it seem like they're responsible for speaking and acting out on their own.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Mahesh said...

its good to see that there's been some global media coverage about the temple destruction. bit disappointed that it hasnt raised a bigger storm in india. but then criticism of an islamic regime is pretty much taboo, so it shouldnt come as a surprise.....

in australia a few years ago, the prime minister made some negative comments about minority rights in malaysia (and other things as well). it wasnt well received- he was lambasted for it by australian and southeast asian media. the general consensus was that malaysia being a growing economic power and important trading partner, it would not do to marginalize them. but when the buddha statues were destroyed in afghanistan, condemnation was the order of the day, as the taliban had no economic links with any country really......

2:05 PM  
Blogger The Keling Speaks said...

I can see how this issue is shocking and startling to the rest of the world, especially Indians in India. But honestly speaking, it is nothing new to Malaysian Indians. We are used to this crap happening, day in day out. You think this is bad? Try going to school here, a local university even, and see how bad the racial marginalisation is. What is really strange is, Kelantan is a PAS dominated state, and not a single hindu temple demolished there. This is all the doing of politicans - specifically these UMNO led, "Malay Supremacist", who think they can use race and religion to gain power.

It's all about power, politics and money. The Malays are not anymore racist than you or me. They are kind and civil people. Its the politicians that need to be maimed.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

To Shree
Many of us Malaysians have spoken about the temple demolition.
Dr Jacob George of Subang Jaya has even organized people to protest.
Jeff Ooi of Screen shots is another person, who blogged about the temple demolition.
If you are a Malaysian, then you would know what the 'kiling speaks' wrote about the marginalization felt by the Indians in Malaysia is absolutely true..
We are just 10% of the population, we have pathetic/selfish leaders(MIC for eg) in our parliament.

For an average Malaysian Indian, life in Malaysia is a lot better than that in India..We are worried that, if we talk too much, Malaysian govt would send us back to India..Id that happens, who will support us? ( there are about 30,000 Malaysian Indians without proper documents in Malaysia)

We bear the abuses by the powers that be and suffer.. because we really have no choice... If we send our children to fight, we will not even get their dead body.. If we ask our leaders to fight, they will tell us to shut up( they don't want to lose their Akshaya pathram by involving and interfereing in all these problems ofcourse!!), if we ask for international assistance, most countries don't bother.. economic decisions don't favour attacking Malaysia's internal problems!!

Malays like Kiling speak said are normal nice people, but the politicians.. they have too much to loose.. and they will go on destroying the temples and we watch silently.. They can destroy a 100 yr old temple..but they can't/won't be able to destroy a 3000 year old faith..

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Shree said...

To Immigrant in Canada. Until Sharanya posted up her letter, you didn't have the blogosphere pick it up in a big way. There is no other blog that is as focused on the issue as hers. Before this blog the information was not compiled. Now it's a big issue, and she brought it into the spotlight. That's fairly obvious. The least the media could do is publish her letter instead of just making it seem like they were the first to dig. So firstly I think you missed my point, and secondly I'm not sure how yours relates to my comment.

And yes, I am a Malaysian, and yes I have been looking for this issue online ever since I first heard rumours.

10:35 AM  
Blogger The Keling Speaks said...

Immigrant in Canada and all other Malaysian Indians,
Malays are nice people, but there are the racist ones which instigate things for no reason. Politicians or otherwise.

Just read this, and you will know what I mean:


11:37 PM  
Blogger lauryn said...

Immigrant in Canada, you are so proud of being an immigrant. If Malaysia is so fucking great, why did you immigrate? The rest of us are still sitting here bearing the brunt. It's not just politicians who make life difficult for us and we know it. Don't tell us what our life is like because we are the ones living it. Every day we face racism, especially from ordinary people from all walks of life.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Lauryn.. I migrated because I had the choice.. I have the education and money that allows me to apply for PR in Canada. As long as I hold the Malaysian Passport, where I live is irrelevant, where as what happens in my country is relevant to me.. So quit your personal attack.. My reasons to leave is none of your business.. Malaysia is truly a great country..but sometimes it can get carried away with racial policies.. However I am proud to be a Malaysian.. always will be..

7:36 AM  
Blogger Sharanya Manivannan said...

Lauryn and KD -- I am unfortunately unable to moderate your comments through as I don't want to encourage Immigrant in Canada to continue trolling on my blog. I'm leaving this comment here because this trolling has resulted in unwanted censorship, which I believe requires explanation.

The crux of the problem seems to be that Immigrant in Canada is blaming me for other commentators' responses to a dialogue which she herself initiated and personalized, simply because she does not like those responses. She also seems to labour under the idea that it's a 1 in a million "statistical probability" that anyone else in addition to myself and, as she claims, her could be at my blog at any given time (on that note, I'm aware of her location and even browser, and that she was here shortly past midnight Malaysian time, the second time today).

This has come across in two emails from her, which accused me of unethical practices in my comment moderation choices and self-glorification, the more recent of which was quite the diatribe, and included this contradictory statement: "If I have to be nasty like Lauryn, then I can ask you why are you Sharanya interfering in my country's internal problems??? Malaysia is for Malaysians.. But I didn't do that because, I have respect for you and your work" (emboldening mine).

In any case, am going to heed some advice. Don't feed the trolls, as they say. So let's refrain.

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear All

Did anyone here had a look at the site "keling speaks" highlighted? (azlanadnan.blogspot.com.
His commments are racial and why havent anyone reported this blogger to the authority? Can anyone help me in pointing out to which relevant authority this blogger should be reported to.

Azlan adnan sounds very bumiputra indeed, cashing on his special priviliges accorded by the chauvinistic government in hand outs termed "subsidy". Yes a legacy of a whole generation of subsidies exists and they are unhappy based on the fact
that they are still lagging behind the Chinese economically and Indians intellectually.

Unfortunately business men like azlan would not dare to insult nor tread on a chinese for fear of loosing or being marginalised in the business world.
But of coz azlan is a realist, he knows the functioning reality of a malay in the business world.
The government is there to support and give hand-outs but the economic machinery is driven by the chinese.

So he is very unhappy because he doesnt have an identity of his own, a language of his own, a culture of his own, a religion of his own and finally a mind of his own.

Malays are a hybrid people who adopted religion,culture and language from others.

There is nothing original about them.Add insult to the woe, the government gave them a crutch mentality.

So people like azlan, who are hateful of the FACTS and REALITY channel this racial hatred to the less important minority (read the Indians).

But then again this is country where a MP is allowed to use deragotary racial slurs in the parliamnet.

People like azlan are lost and dangerous. Yes they are easily consumed by their own failures which can lead them to seek shelter in religion.
Remember the Msian JI terrorist in Indonesia Dr Azahari ( graduate and failed businessman)?
Remember the year 2000 and the Al Maunah loose cannons?

7:43 AM  
Blogger cyclopseven said...

I refer to the incidents involving the demolitions of Hindu temples in Malaysia. Its is indeed startling to note that things happen mostly within the confinement of so-called Islamic country. I was taught from small that each one has the right to practice a belief/religion that suits their temperament. I was also taught that Islam is a great religion, but what I have been seeing throughout my live is something opposite. In the name of development, places of worship other than that of Muslims' are slowly being either desecrated of demolished. And all this are carried out without proper notification to relevant authorities. Surprisingly the perpetrators are 100% muslims. This is something to be condemned by the world communities.

Islam means peace. But, in reality are we living among peaceful people. They talk about democracy and religious tolerance, but beyond their capacity to practice it. In Malaysia, tolerance means to remain quiet without questioning one's right. During Prophet Mohammad's time, there were evidence muslims and non-muslims lived under one banner. What I don't understand is why the muslims have to resort to such despicable act of demolishing the symbols that represent other religions, in order to protect theirs?

Our Prime Minister, do not by any mean represents the Malaysian Hindus . This is quite clear from his speech given during a gathering yesterday. Our Prime Minister, is very much concern about how to make non-muslims understand the muslims and Islam better. I would like him to know that we the Hindus in Malaysia know Islam better, that's why we do not belittle the religion or their places of worship. Never once, he expect the muslims try to understand other religions and the feelings of the followers. Islam is a great religion, but I don't know from where the 'sword' part of came into existence. A true practitioner of any religion is a person who has great respect and tolerance towards the practitioner of other religions, without necessarily having to accept or agree to everything practiced by others. Let others do things their way.

We have so many colors in life, lets each be allowed to choose the one he/she likes as long it doesn't endanger anyone by any context. This is the fundamental meaning of tolerance.

As far as I know, true religion of Islam do not cater for violence, prejudice, hatred or fanaticism. Unless, the religion has undergone some form of distortion, this kind of fallacy in the name of religion occurs. And, those who resort to this kind of actions can never be a true muslim but only for namesake to covert power and wealth.

I would like to call upon the Hindus and proudly state that ours is a great tradition respected by the world at large and remember it is the great tolerance emphasized by Sanathana Dharma, this faith continue to exist until today. Mother nature shall testify this truth. God bless all, including the perpetrator of the temple demolitions in Malaysia.

7:54 AM  

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