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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saudi woman to be lashed for driving car

Police in Australia are considering using fingerprinting to identify Muslim women wearing full veils after a court case in which a woman was let off because police could not be sure who she was.
A Saudi Arabian woman is to be lashed for driving a car days after women were given the vote in the kingdom (file photo)
Amnesty International reported the sentence just two days after Saudi King Abdullah granted women the right to vote and run in municipal elections.

"Flogging is a cruel punishment in all circumstances but it beggars belief that the authorities in Saudi Arabia have imposed lashes on a woman apparently for merely driving a car", Philip Luther, an Amnesty regional deputy director, said in an emailed statement.

"Allowing women to vote in council elections is all well and good, but if they are still going to face being flogged for trying to exercise their right to freedom of movement, then the king's much trumpeted 'reforms' actually amount to very little," Mr Luther said.

Two other women are also believed to be facing charges related to driving, the Amnesty statement said.

Najla Hariri, one of the women facing charges, told Reuters: "They called me in for questioning on a charge of challenging the monarch on Sunday... I signed a pledge not to drive again, although my driving was a result of necessity not an act of defiance."
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Under Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic laws, women require a male guardian's permission to work, travel abroad or undergo certain types of surgery.

There is no law banning women from driving, but there is a law requiring citizens to use locally issued licences while in the country. Such licences are not issued to women, making it effectively illegal for them to drive.

In May, as pro-democracy protests swept the region, some women in Saudi Arabia called for the right to drive. A campaign dubbed Women2Drive issued calls on social media such as Twitter and Facebook to challenge the ban.

Some women posted on Twitter that they drove successfully in the streets of Jeddah, Riyadh and Khobar while others said they were stopped by police who later let them go after signing a pledge not to drive again.

On May 22, Manal Alsharif, who posted a YouTube video of her driving in the streets of Khobar, was arrested. She was later released but her case proved a deterrent for many women.

"I am very upset and disturbed... I believe that this is a message which intends to tell women that they will not get all their demands," said Naila Attar, an activist and one of the women who organised the campaign Baladi (My Country), calling for Saudi women to have the right to vote.

"We are now working on a petition to the king ... asking him to stop the lashing order," she said.

Explosion rips through Empire Gallery, four hurt

A view of Empire Gallery Subang after an explosion early this morning ripped through a large portion of the mall. — Picture by Choo Choy May
SUBANG JAYA, Sept 28 — Four people were hurt in an early morning explosion at the Empire Gallery shopping mall here, which was heard from as far away as Bangsar.

Eyewitnesses described a scene of chaos, with police, ambulances and the fire brigade still on the scene.

Police tracker dogs were also present, as were Fire and Rescue Department personnel from stations across Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Damansara and Puchong to investigate the incident.

Subang Jaya OCPD ACP Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar told reporters at the scene that the blast was believed to have started in the basement and involved a gas pipeline.

“We have yet to determine the cause of the blast but damage is extensive, affecting the parking lot and many outlets on the basement level and even the ground floor,” he said.

“Our forensics team is still investigating. We have not been able to enter certain parts of the mall . . . the damage is too bad and the areas are sealed off.”

He confirmed that a distress call was received at 3.45am concerning the explosion at the mall, which is at the entrance of Subang Jaya from the Federal Highway.

Zainal Rashid said four people were injured — two Nepalese security guards and a couple. They received minor scrapes and bruises.

Rescue workers are still combing the basement in search of more victims.

The security guards, who were initially trapped in the basement, have been sent to hospital.

The couple, sales executives Daryl Chua, 27, and his girlfriend Hibbie Tan, 23, were taken to hospital in an ambulance but have since been discharged.
Nearly the entire stretch of the front portion of the newly-built mall was blown out, damaging a number of cafes, restaurants and clothing stores including Tangs and Starbucks Coffee.

Chua told reporters that he was walking with his girlfriend to an parking payment station a few steps from Starbucks when the explosion occurred about 3.30am.

“We were at La Bodega earlier for dinner and then we were just hanging out outside my car and talking," he said.

“Just as we were heading to the Autopay, there was a loud ‘boom’, like in the movies. I thought it was a bomb.”

Chua said he was “literally lifted off the ground” and thrown sideways several metres from the blast, lightly grazing both his arms.

The sound of breaking glass, falling debris and metal, and sirens broke the earlier silence, he said, leaving him in a momentary state of confusion and panic.

“And then the flames came up. It was all over, the entire front of the mall was razed. I thought I was going to die,” he said.

When the scene calmed slightly, Chua said he carried Tan, who had sprained her leg, to safety and noticed passers-by and nearby residents rushing to the scene.

His car, a black Volkswagen Golf GTI, was severely damaged.
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim tweeted this morning and prayed for the safety of the residents nearby.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh was also there, he added.

The shopping mall opened last year.

Yeoh told The Malaysian Insider she scrambled to get there after receiving a message on the Twitter micro-blogging service around 3am.

“The four injured have been taken to the hospital,” she said. "One broke his leg, apparently."

“The damage [to the building] is extensive. All of the lower floor all the way up to the second floor.”

The cause of the explosion was still not known, she said.

The police have sealed off the area, causing traffic jams in the vicinity during the morning rush hour.

Pakatan’s illusion of unity shattered, says MCA

MCA organising secretary Tee Siew Keong says Pakatan should lift its gag order and allow its members to speak freely over hudud implementation.

PETALING JAYA: The ongoing tiff in Pakatan Rakyat over the hudud issue is proof that the so-called unity among the Pakatan component parties is a mere illusion, said MCA national organising secretary Tee Siew Keong.

In a statement today, Tee said Pakatan should allow its members to speak freely over the Islamic law controversy by lifting its gag order on the matter.

“Whenever troubled by a controversy, they silence their members. They should stop trying to sweep the matter under the carpet,” said Tee.

Last week, the opposition pact courted controversy when its leader Anwar Ibrahim openly said that in principle, he backed hudud laws to be implemented in Kelantan.

His statement drew ire from DAP with Lim Kit Siang saying the Islamic law cannot be implemented in Malaysia and was not part of the Pakatan’s common policy.

A heated debate followed suit, prompting Pakatan leaders to issue a gag order over the matter pending a high-level meeting later tonight.

Tee said that this was not the first time Pakatan resorted to silence its members as the same thing was done when Selangor menteri besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim was in a fix over the Damansara Utama Methodist Churh by Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) last month.

“And when heated debate followed over seat allocation talks, Pakatan leaders told its members not to speak openly on the matter,” he said.

Since early this month, there were reports that PKR and DAP were deadlocked over negotiations on seats allocation in several states.

This prompted PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution to instuct his party leaders to stop highlighting their discontent to the press.

Tee also called upon DAP to state its stand over the implementation of hudud laws in Kelantan to put the matter to rest once and for all.

“And it should stop pitting the Chinese against one another just for the sake of political power,” he said.

Bersih 2.0 gets leave to challenge unlawful order

High Court fixed Nov 22 to hear the merit of the judicial review.

KUALA LUMPUR: The steering committee of Bersih 2.0 today obtained leave from the High Court to challenge the order declaring it an unlawful society.

Judge Rohana Yusuf, who made the decision in chambers, allowed the leave application of the committee for a judicial review to quash the decision.

The court set Nov 22 to hear the merit of the judicial review.

On July 8, 14 members of the committee, including S Ambiga, filed the leave application naming the Home Minister, Inspector-General of Police and the government as respondents.

They are seeking an order of certiorari to remove the order dated July 1 by the Home Minister declaring Bersih 2.0 an unlawful society and an order to quash it forthwith.

They also want a declaration that the order is null and void and of no effect.

Ambiga, who is chairman of the committee, told reporters that the judge had granted them leave to seek to quash the decision and have the order declared null and void.

However, Ambiga said, the judge denied the leave application for an order prohibiting the respondents from entering and searching their premises as well as an order to compel the respondents to release the T-shirts, placards, newspapers, books, banners and any other documents or objects belonging to them which were seized by the police.

Ambiga said that she was happy with the ruling as it related to an executive order.

Senior Federal Counsel Kamaluddin Md Said, representing the respondents, said that he will get instructions from his superiors on whether to appeal against the ruling.

In the application, the committee claimed that the order decreed that the Bersih movement was declared an unlawful society because it was allegedly “being used for purposes prejudicial to the interests of the security of Malaysia and public order”.

Bersih 2.0, the committee contended, was substantively different from the movement known simply as Bersih which was launched in 2007 and comprised political parties and civil society organisations.

Bersih 2.0, it said, consisted solely of civil society organisations and was launched in November last year.

The applicants claimed that the order was illegal because Bersih 2.0 was substantively different from Bersih, and that Bersih, as it originally stood, no longer existed.

- Bernama

Indians ‘kingmakers’ in 130 state seats

A PKR survey revealed that urban and semi-urban Indians are still partial to the Pakatan Rakyat coalition

PETALING JAYA: A PKR leader is of the opinion that the Indian community is still very much aligned to Pakatan Rakyat and will be the kingmakers in 130 state assembly seats.

Malacca vice-president G Rajendran said that a recent survey by an independent team indicated that 60 percent of Malaysian Indians, who were mostly from the urban and semi-urban areas, were fed up with the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.

He claimed that the team, which included him, had visited 62 parliamentary constituencies where the respective Indian communities had played a major role in deciding the winning candidates in the historic 2008 general election.

“We’ve been doing the survey for the last six months. The feedback is favouring Pakatan,” he told FMT.

According to him, Indians will play a pivotal role in the coming general election.

“The survey revealed that the outcome of 130 state assembly seats in Kedah, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Johor, will be determined by Indian votes,” he said. (A parliamentary constituency has three to four state assembly seats.)

Rajendran said currently the BN leaders are playing a “psychological war” with the Indian community.

They are pitting the Indian community against Pakatan leaders by saying the community is unlikely support the opposition party.

“These are utter lies… the Indian voters still have faith in Pakatan.

“Pakatan has excellent state governments in Kedah, Kelantan, Penang and Selangor respectively,” he added.

Fewer people in estates

Rajendran pointed out that only 15% of the Indians are now living in estates and rural areas, based on the survey.

“This is the group that MIC is focusing on. They (MIC) are hoping that by sorting out this group’s simple needs it is enough to win at the ballot box,” he said, adding that this group was still true loyalist to BN.

Rajendran, however, believes that despite MIC’s forays, the rural Indians are unlikely to turn against Pakatan in the 13th general election, even though the community is facing numerous problems to vote.

“Many of the voters have no transport to go to the voting centres.

“Some do not have identity cards and others are too complacent or are not interested to vote,” he said.

He added that that there should not be a comparison between a by-election and a general election, where in the former, the BN can give its full attention to the rural areas where Indian reside.

He also said the BN would also have trouble convincing the 20% Indians who lived in urban areas to vote for the ruling regime.

“BN cannot ‘touch’ them (urban Indian) at any cost.

“Thus, the remaining 65% of the Indians who live in the semi-urban are now seen as the real threat to both sides,” he said.

‘MIC doomed’

Rajendran is confident that 55% of the semi-urban Indians will support Pakatan in the upcoming election.

He said MIC was doomed and was unlikely to offer BN many voters.

He added that accusations hurled at PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and the government’s refusal to ban the “Interlok” novel, along with the discrimination in social and education developments, are several factors that would work against the MIC.

He described Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s recent announcement to help needy Indians as mere “instant noodles”, adding that BN can no longer fool the community.

On Monday, Najib launched an education charity fund called “Community Chest” and pledged to channel a minimum of RM100 million annually from next year to help needy Chinese and Tamil mission schools.

Rajendran said that “Najib only officiated at the programme and he cannot claim credit for it. The charity is a brainchild of Malaysian business tycoons.

“The BN has hijacked the charity from those tycoons to gain votes from non-Muslim,” he added.

Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim “Demi Rakyat” Alor Gajah 22/09/2011

Middle Malaysia

The Malaysian Insider

SEPT 28 — Middle Malaysia is elusive but it is clear that whichever coalition that is able to win across the traditional fault lines of race, religion and regions takes Federal power.

Barisan Nasional is now the world’s oldest elected government still in office. Its predecessor, the Alliance party, first won the Federal election for self-government in 1955.

BN’s longevity in government can be attributed to successful manipulation of the carrot and stick. Carrots range from contracts for big tycoons to rural patronage for the Umno base while the sticks are really big – dissenters can be put behind bars without trial for years while the mass media are muzzled.

But there is something deeper: there is no alternative.

Or more precisely, the ultimate use of the carrot and stick is to ensure that no BN-clone is allowed to exist.

Instead of fighting a single opposition, BN perpetuated a structure which has two flanks — PAS for the Muslims and DAP for the non-Malays — and styled itself as the indispensable pseudo “centrist” coalition that caters for the interests across racial, religious and regional boundaries.

Without a clean and fair electoral system and an unbiased mass media, the moment a moderate centrist coalition emerges it is destroyed without mercy.

Elections in 1964, 1974, 1982, 1995, and 2004 saw a general swing of all ethnic groups in favour of Barisan Nasional for various reasons. Elections in 1978 and 1986 witnessed Barisan Nasional winning across the races but losing heavily among ethnic Chinese voters.

A general anti-establishment swing across races in various degrees towards the Opposition occurred in elections in 1959, 1969, 1990, 2008 while the 1999 election was an oddity with Malays swinging massively towards the Opposition while more than 50 per cent of the supposedly more anti-establishment voted for the ruling coalition out of fear of the Islamic state claim and copycat violence a la Indonesia’s anti-Suharto days.

The de facto centre plus two flanks structure was almost broken in the 1990 general election until the final days of campaign when BN depicted Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as a traitor to the Malays for wearing a Kadazan headgear with a symbol that looks like a cross. At the time, the majority of the ethnic Chinese and nearly half of the Malays were psychologically ready for a change of government.

Since the 2008 general election, BN’s formula to win the next election is not to recognise the two-party reality that it received only 51 per cent of popular votes. In fact, only 49 per cent in peninsular Malaysia voted for BN.

Instead, apart from starving the Opposition of material resources and fair mass media coverage, the strategy is three-pronged – to destroy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s credibility as the alternative prime minister at all costs, to lure PAS’ leaders into the Malay/Muslim exclusivist discourse and to paint DAP as an extremist villain.

It is no small feat that for the last three-and-a-half years since the formation of Pakatan Rakyat as a consequence of the March 2008 election, it has so far been able to hold Middle Malaysia.

The alternative media channels are more mature compared to two decades ago while 70 per cent of Malaysians are now living in the urban areas which allow greater exposure and access to alternative views. In 1980, only 35 per cent of the population live in urban areas.

Umno has also effectively ceded Middle Malaysia to the Opposition since the waving of the keris by Hishammuddin Hussein in July 2005. Its right wing is now dictating policies.

And, to the credit of Pakatan Rakyat, it has stayed in Middle Malaysia all this while.

Putrajaya to set timetable for law reforms tomorrow, says Najib

The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today reaffirmed his government’s commitment to increase civil liberties in the country, saying Putrajaya will decide tomorrow on a timetable to carry out his promised reforms to security and press laws.

Without divulging details, the prime minister said the first round of reforms would be delivered during the coming Parliament sitting next month and promised more would follow suit over the next few months.

“At this stage, we want people to have the idea that we are serious about it, we are committed towards it and this coming Parliament, you will see a slew of new legislation, or rather actions on our part to repeal certain Acts and public will be informed in due course,” he told participants at the close of the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2011 this evening.

The prime minister responding to a question by a participant on when his administration planned to implement the security and press law changes he had promised in his recent Malaysia Day address.

Among others, Najib had announced the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA), amendments to the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), the lifting of three Emergency Declarations and the repeal and amendments to other security laws.

“We are in process now of looking at some of the best practices, some of the norms that are in place, not only within the region but internationally, and we will be tackling them one by one. We will decide tomorrow on the timetable.

“The objective of the new policy would be to ensure greater civil liberties in Malaysia; we want to emerge as a modern functioning democracy,” Najib told the forum, earning applause.

He said his Malaysia Day message merely touched on some “basic principles”, adding that once his administration irons out the details of the reforms, subsequent announcements would be made.

Najib earned praise across the political divide for his law reform pledges but many civil society groups and opposition lawmakers also expressed doubt that the prime minister would follow through with his promises.

They pointed out that Najib had also announced the enactment of two new security laws in place of the ISA, asking if this meant the government was merely rebranding the contentious Act.

Political hardliners are also pressuring the prime minister to preserve the spirit of the ISA in the two new laws, claiming Malaysia was still in need of such preventive legislation.

Najib came to power in April 2009 with the promise of reviewing the ISA but has now done away with the security law completely in what appears to be a drastic move to win back middle Malaysia.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this week Najib should push back the election timetable and the influential former prime minister’s views has found support among Cabinet and senior government leaders who want the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to regain greater support.

The latest survey from local pollster Merdeka Center showed that Najib’s popularity slid to 59 per cent this August from the highest of 79 per cent in May 2010, fuelled by rising concerns over the surge in living costs and his government’s handling of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally.

The Bersih 2.0 rally and spike in living costs this year are similar to events in 2007 that eventually led to BN’s loss of its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority and four states in Election 2008 to three opposition parties that later organised themselves into a pact called Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

That led to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi losing his job in 2009 in favour of Najib who became the country’s sixth prime minister after more than 30 years in government. Najib’s father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, was the country’s second prime minister.

Dead prisoner's family gets RM590,900 damages

The New Straits Times

KUANTAN: The High Court yesterday ordered the government and Penor Prison director to pay RM590,900 in damages to the family of an 18-year-old youth who died at the prison six years ago.

Judge Datuk Mariana Yahya made the decision in chambers yesterday after reviewing submissions by lawyer G. Visvanathan Nair, who represented the victim's parents, Mohamed Yusof Mat Diah, 64, and his wife, Rohani Mohamed, 53.

Visvanathan told reporters that in her judgment, Mariana had described the assault by 10 prison employees as brutal and in-humane, and this had led to the death of Mohd Shukri Mohamed Yusof.

She said the prison employees had violated Shukri's human rights and such behaviour was unfair and could never be compromised.

Mariana awarded the amount for aggravated damages, loss of support and other expenses. 

Besides Visvanathan, the plaintiffs were also represented by G. Subramanian Nair and Ebrina Zubir.

The defendants were Azhar Che Wil, Teyun Thian Em, Suhaimi Nordin, Mohamad Hamdan Mohd Yaakob, Ahmad Rizal Ab Halim, Ismail @ Mat Daud Ideris (represented by Amanah Raya Bhd, which is managing his properties after he died), Hamdan Mohamad, Mohd Rozi Abdul Hamid, Baharin Ab Ghani and Zamarul Hafiz Shahbudin.

The Penor Prison director and the government were the 11th and 12th defendants.

Counsel R.S. Pani represented Hamdan, Rozi, Baharin and Zamarul Hafiz, while senior federal counsel Kamal Azira Hassan represented Teyun, Suhaimi, Hamdan, Ahmad Rizal, Ismail, the prison director and the government.

Nine of the warders -- Teyun, Suhaimi, Hamdan, Ahmad Rizal, Ismail@Mat Daud, Hamdan, Rozi, Baharin and Zamarul -- were acquitted in 2005 without their defence being called, while Azhar was sentenced to death.

The Federal Court upheld the conviction and death sentence against Azhar last year.

In the 4.10pm incident on March 1, 2004, Shukri, who was a remand prisoner, had attempted to escape but was caught 30 minutes later and assaulted by the prison employees before he passed out at the prison safety unit room.

Shukri, who was remanded for drug offences, was taken to Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital here before he died at 7.44am on March 10. 

A medical report revealed that he suffered several injuries, including a fractured skull and bleeding in his brain.

Rohani, when met outside the court, said she was grateful that the case was over.

"I am not after the money, as my son is no longer alive, but what is important is that justice has been served.

"I hope this will serve as a reminder to the prison employees that they should never take the law into their hands as it can result in the death of people."

The housewife said her family had accepted Shukri's death, but added that it could have been avoided if the prison employees had been more responsible in carrying out their duties. 

She said her family would hold a tahlil (special prayers for the dead) for Shukri soon.

‘Human safari’ tourism destroys UN drive to link cultures

‘Human safari’ tourism destroys UN drive to link cultures

Tourists arriving on the Andaman Islands are being
given leaflets about the 'human safari park' boycott.
© Search/Survival
Travel and tourism have the power to link cultures and provide a ‘stepping stone towards peace’, according to the UN. But as the world marks its 31st World Tourism Day, Survival International has learned of an alleged sexual assault on a tribal woman in India’s Andaman Islands.

Exotic beaches make the archipelago a top holiday destination, but tourism is also leaving tribes increasingly vulnerable, as sightseeing tours turn into ‘human safaris’.

This trend means recently contacted tribes are now in immediate danger from outside influences. The alleged victim of this latest assault was from the Andamans’ Jarawa tribe. Police have arrested two non-Jarawa men.

The Jarawa resisted contact with outsiders until 1998, despite a road being built through the centre of their ancestral lands. Survival International has called on the Indian government to close the illegal road.

Two Jarawa relax by the coast of the Andaman
Islands © Salomé/Survival
Some tour operators treat the Jarawa like animals, encouraging tourists to ‘spot’ them and throw biscuits and sweets as they drive along the Andaman Trunk Road.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry says, ‘the UN describes World Tourism Day as a chance to advance understanding and tolerance between peoples and cultures. Using the Andaman Trunk road destroys this message by threatening the health and well being of a whole tribe. An alternative route must be provided.’

A local Andaman organization called Search is working with Survival to put pressure on the Indian government to develop a new route, which will not disturb the Jarawa.

Leaflets appealing for a tourism boycott of the road have been distributed at the islands' airport, to coincide with this year’s World Tourism week. Four out of five of the Andamans’ main tour operators have already come out in support of the boycott.

The ensuing Durga Puja in Bangladesh may grossly be violated by the Islamists.

Protesting Puja Committee members in front of the wrecked image of Goddess Durga under construction. in Dinajpur. BD NF Photo.
The members of the Hindu community in Bandarban town form a human chain on Monday protesting against the misdeed of some miscreants who damaged the clay image of goddess Durga in the district recently. BD Sun Photo
BD minority Hindus are denied Religious Rights in their largest festival.
The damages of deities are gross in nature. Islamists in Bangladesh are die hard to protest the rituals of infidels.
HE Desk from Dhaka :  Within some moments the final call for the greatest  event in Bengali Social Religious life is to rent the air through “Mahalaya”. But in various places in Bangladesh minority Hindus are anxious about their fate to observe the Durga Puja in peace or not.
Reports came in our desk about putting the strong hurdles to organize Durga Puja by not providing facilities to the puja committees along with state sponsored (?) hooliganism in a Islamic state by destroying Durga Images under construction/installation in the puja pandals in many parts of Bangladesh even under a so called ‘minority friend’ Awami League Govt. in Bangladesh at present.
When thousands of atrocities on Bengali Hindu population in Bangladesh have already been reported and harrowing experiences prove that these barbarities reach new heights during the days of Durga Puja, every year and there is no exception this year too. According to fresh reports, at least six deities, meant for the upcoming Durga Puja, have been desecrated and destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists in Banuria of Kaliganj in Jenaidaha, Alikadam, Bandarban, Birol, Birampur etc. in Bangladesh and the office bearers of the Puja Committee are also fatally injured in some places. Only two Muslim miscreants, in connection with these cases, have been arrested so far.
The clippings of the reports run below as heart rendering :

One Image of Durga, other deities damaged

Jhenaidh| 25th  Sept. 2011: A group of unidentified miscreants damaged some images of deities at a puja mandap in Banuria village under Kaliganj upazila of Jhenidah district in the early hours of Friday.
Parimal Kumar, a member of the Puja Udjapan Committee and inhabitant of the village, said they had gone home after holding a meeting here Thursday midnight.
They found some damaged images of deities, including Ganesh and Laxmi.
Besides, one hand of the tiger’s image was also found detached from its body.
He also added that the heinous incident had taken place just nine days ahead of the Durga Puja, the greatest religious festival of the Hindus.
If they failed to manage any artisan to repair the damaged images in time, they would not be able to celebrate the puja this year.
Vijan Kumar Das, president of the Puja Udjapan Committee, told daily sun that he had heard of the incident.
But, he could not yet visit the spot as he was staying outside.
Anjumanara Begum, UNO of Kaliganj upazila, said on information she had visited the spot.
Two Durga idols wrecked in Dinajpur
Dinajpur || 23rd Sept. 2011 || Unidentified miscreants wrecked two idols of Durga in two upazilas of Dinajpur district on Thursday night, a few days ahead of the biggest festival of the Hindu community.
The four-day Durga puja starts on October 2.
The incidents took place at Paikpara village under Birol upazila and Deior Salghoria village under Birampur upzila.
Dinajpur police super Moinul Islam confirmed the sacrilege and said the police had started investigations into the incidents.
He said the police already arrested a man in Birol on suspicion of his involvement in the crime.
Parimal Chakrabarty, a leader of the Dinajpur district Puja Udjapon Parishad, expressed his concern at the incidents and called on the district administration to step up security at the Hindu temples.
Three Images of Durga broken in Bandarban
Bandarban | 20th Sept. 2011: Some miscreants broke three images of goddess Durga at a temple at Vorir Muk under Alikadam upazila of Bandarban district Sunday night.
The images were built in preparation for celebrating the upcoming Durga Puja, the largest religious festival of the Hindus.
The temple authority said a gang of miscreants numbering 8-10 had come to the temple and suddenly attacked them with sticks and sharp weapons while they had been in a meeting on the temple premises and stabbed three people. They had also broken the three images.
One of the critically injured, Monomohan Karmokar, president of the temple authority, was admitted to Alikadam Upazila Health Complex.
Md Iqbal, officer-in-charge of Alikadam police station, said on information they had rushed to the spot and nabbed one Abul Kalam in this connection at night.
Deputy Commissioner Mizanur Rahman, Police Super Kamrul Hasan and Bandarban Puja Udjapan Parishad leaders visited the spot Monday morning.
A case was filed in this connection.
Two other incidents of  breaking the Durga Idol by Muslims fundamentalists  just came into this end : ~~
1. Place : village – Simulia, Sadar Upazila – Jhalkathi.  Dist. Adminstrator Mr. Ashok Biswas confirmed the attack. Police Super Mohammad Mozid Ali inspected the place of occurance.
2. Place : Rajsahi, Tanore Municipality. In the area of Samaspur, Durga Image was desecrated  in the Hari Temple puja site. The 4 images (clay idols) of  Goddess Lakshi (2),  Goddess Saraswati (1), and Lord Kartick (1) were destroyed in the night time. The main culprit and the perpetrator is one Iskamil Mridha as revealed. Intensive police posting is ordered by the authority to maintain the peace. The Secretary of the Hari Mandir Durgotsav Committee has filed a case against 15 Muslim miscreants so far.
Despite of these menace tantamount to the minority Hindus in Bangladesh, the Home Minister in Bangladesh Sahara Khatun briefed the press that this year has the landmark to conduct 28000 pujas against the 27000 pujas held last year. Even she gave a statistics to increase of three puja mandops (pandals) this year in the capital of Dhaka touching the figure of 196 against last year’s 193 so far. The Minister reiterated the ‘peaceful’ and ‘no problem’ observance of Durga pujas under the instructed and designated Puja Samanoy Samity (Puja Coordination Committee) headed by District Magistrate in every districts to look after his jurisdiction.
But these pro Islamists never raise that glorious days of Bangladesh Hindus, when once only Dhaka was overwhelmed with more than 300 Durga pujas on her own with a celebration of 50000 Durga pujas with the periphery of today’s bangladesh some 60 years back. But it is encouraging that the various Hindu minority forums are struggling hard to protect their religious rights and continue the Hindu rituals and celebrations through many hardships in an Islamic State of Bangladesh.

Zaid: Hudud cannot exclude

Dissidents are not founding members

JHEAINS to take body snatch incident to court

The Negeri Sembilan Islamic Affairs Deparment (JHEAINS) will take legal action against those who prevented the department from obtaining the body of Lawrence Sevananthan for “contempt of court”.

Its director, Johani Hassan, said when contacted today that the department was studying legal action for being prevented from burying Lawrence’s body according to Islamic rites.

“We had a court order for them to hand over the body (to JHEAINS), but they refused. So we are studying action for contempt of court,” he said, but declined to disclose further details.

Johani maintained that Lawrence, 33, whose body was involved in a tussle between his family and JHEAINS, was a Muslim before he died and that there was evidence to prove that he converted to Islam on Sept 19.

“We have the certificate that shows he converted to Islam and a video recording to prove it,” he said.

The religious status of Lawrence, who died last week, became the centre of controversy after JHEAINS officers went to the family home on Sept 22 to claim the body on grounds that he had converted to Islam three days earlier.

The situation sparked an tense stand-off between family members and at least 30 police and JHEAINS officers.

JHEAINS later backed down, but Lawrence’s friends took matters into their own hands by whisking the body away as it was being taken to a church in Seremban.

They cremated the body and buried the ashes in Segamat.

Lawrence was found unconscious in his lorry by family members on the night of Sept 21 and was declared dead on arrival at the Seremban Hospital.

Bishop wants ‘iron-clad’ guarantee on hudud

Commenting on the row over hudud, Bishop Paul Tan says 'let the Kelantanese have it'. But he wants a guarantee that non-Muslims will not be affected.

PETALING JAYA: The opposition bloc of diameterically opposed ideologies is grappling with the controversy surrounding the proposal to implement hudud in Kelantan – an issue, which political observers warned, could sever Pakatan Rakyat’s support, especially among non-Muslims.

Admist the raging debate, a Catholic leader argued that it would be hypocritical to oppose the Islamic-based PAS on this issue but demanded an iron-cast assurance from Pakatan supremo Anwar Ibrahim.

Should hudud be implemented in the PAS-governed state, Bishop Paul Tan said the opposition leader must obtain a guarantee that non-Muslims residing in Kelantan would not be subjected to it.

The 72-year-old head of the Malacca and Johor diocese would also prefer if the other parties in Pakatan, namely DAP, work towards securing a similar guarantee as well.

The secularist DAP, which relies on the support of the Chinese electorate, had always been opposed to PAS’ vision of turning Malaysia into an Islamic state.

Tan said while his core stance would be to dissuade the Kelantan state government from implementing hudud, this however was not a realistic position, given that Muslims were obliged to support syariah law which encompassed hudud.

“I stand by my Catholic teaching that every individual must be free to choose his/her religious beliefs. Since we, Catholics, demand this right for ourselves, it would be hypocritical not to give the same human rights to others, here specifically to Muslims,” the bishop told FMT.

“Once you come to terms with the unrealism of the rejectionist stance, you switch to its opposite, which is to give support to the view that Kelantanese Muslims ought to be allowed to see for themselves what living under syariah would be like.

“The rest of Malaysia can stand by and observe. So long as we don’t cede our right to vote, we can use the ballot box, whenever general elections are held, to render our verdict as the evidence unfolds on the success or otherwise of this experience. PAS abides by democratic rules. It would have to submit to the ultimate verdict of the people,” he added.

‘A Kelantanese thing’

Tan pointed out that the issue was a “Kelantanese thing” since the menteri besar of Selangor, another Pakatan-controlled state, clarified that Islamic law would not be implemented there.

He said it was not for nothing that the Kelantanese considered their state – with a predominantly Muslim population – of being “Serambi Mekah” (Corridor to Mecca).

“Since they so dearly want syariah, I say let them have it. The rest of Malaysia can watch and see and decide which systems they prefer as and when elections come around.

“I think the unrealistic position is to tell a fervent Muslim that he cannot acquit himself of his obligation to support syariah,” he added.

Asked if as a Christian leader he considered PAS’ theocratic goals as a threat, Tan responded by citing the situation in other countries.

“Do you see Christians in Pakistan happy with the state of things there since the time General Zia Ul-Haq introduced syariah law in Pakistan in the 1980s?

“Did you see Christians in south Sudan (now independent) happy with the state of things from the time Hassan Turabi convinced Jaafar al-Numieri to introduce Islamic law in the country?

“Do you see Indonesian Christians happy with the state of things since the time militant Muslims, although a minority in that country, began to thrust themselves onto the national stage from the later part of Suharto’s tenure till now?” he asked.

Tan said that he could go on citing examples, but noted that it would not be helpful in the Malaysian context.

“Here, on the one hand, you have imposters using religion to garner support and, on the other, you have earnest Muslims in Kelantan thinking that they can replicate the ‘best of all communities designed for man’, which is what the Quranic scriptures say about the communities in Mecca and Medina during the time when Islam’s Prophet ruled,” he added.

‘Not interested in Umno”

Referring to PAS spritual leader and Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, Tan also asked if he was expected to say “No” (oppose the implementation of hudud) to a menteri besar who next month finished 21 years at the helm “with not a speck of corruption hanging to his name”.

“I say it’s better for us to say ‘Go ahead, just give us cast-iron guarantees that it won’t be imposed on non-Muslims’. And then, we sit back and see what happens,” he said.

On whether Umno might be tempted to follow suit in an attempt to win over the support of Malay-Muslim voters, the bishop did not mince his words.

“Actually, I have ceased to care what Umno is up to,” he said.

“They are the ones that are chiefly responsible for this huge deficit in Malaysian – particularly Kelantanese – Muslim belief that good secular governance can be obtained in this country.

“I am more concerned to see what their opponents are up to and determined to keep those opponents true to their professions,” he added.

Perkasa mob’s attack ‘premeditated’

If their intention was to hand over a memorandum as claimed, why fling bottles and stones at crowd, asks Seremban PAS chief

SEREMBAN: The Perkasa mob which disrupted a PAS dinner-cum-ceramah last Saturday had carried out a “well-planned and premeditated” attack, said Seremban PAS chief MK Ibrahim.

“The excuse that they were there just to hand over a memorandum is unacceptable. If they really wanted to do that, why throw stones and bottles at the crowd?

“This was a Hari Raya dinner as well. There were women, children and senior citizens among the crowd. They could have been badly hurt,” said Ibrahim.

“They did not come with the intention of handing over a memorandum but to deliberately disrupt the event to get cheap publicity,” he added.

About 100 Perkasa members created a ruckus when they tried to storm the ceramah attended by PAS deputy president Mat Sabu.

They came with banners that read: “Mat Sabu Pembohong (Liar)”, “Mat Sabu Perosak Bangsa (Corrupter of the race)” and “Mat Sabu Hina Pejuang (Insults freedom fighters)”.

In the ensuing fracas, a PAS supporter was hit in the head with a stone and another, suffered a broken nose while several others were injured.

Negri Sembilan PAS commissioner Mohd Taufek Abdul Ghani said the party is considering seeking compensation from the those whose actions resulted in injuries to its supporters.

“But it will depend on the outcome of the police investigation,” he said.

“We are ready to assist the police,” Taufek added.

He said that the uncivilised behaviour of the Perkasa members showed that the NGO had little respect for the constitution and the laws of the land.

The Hudud issue: FOR and AGAINST

Basically, you have a democratic right to dream about Hudud and to support it. And you also have a democratic right to have nightmares about Hudud and to oppose it. The problem is, both sides do not understand democracy and do not respect the democratic right of someone to support or oppose what they feel they want to support or oppose.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Let us first argue FOR.

We are always shouting and screaming that Barisan Nasional does not respect the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. We accuse Barisan Nasional of violating the Constitution. But is it only Barisan Nasional that is guilty of this or are we also guilty of the same?

What does the Constitution say? It says that religion (meaning Islam) is a state matter and comes under the Ruler of that state. In states that do not have Rulers, then religion comes under the Agong.

That means the states have power over matters involving Islam.

Now, this is what the Constitution stipulates. And if we don’t like that or do not agree with that, tough! Then we shall have to amend the Constitution so that matters concerning religion can be brought under the control of the federal government.

However, to do that, we shall first have to control a majority in Parliament. And that means we will have to ensure that we vote in a new government that is prepared to make these amendments to the Constitution.

And if we can’t find any government that is prepared to make these amendments then we are stuck. That means that particular Article in the Constitution will stay and cannot be amended.

Okay, since religion is a state matter, this means each state decides on all matters concerning the Shariah. For example, one state might ban Muslims from drinking and punish offenders with a fine. Another state might punish offenders with a jail sentence while, yet another, may impose whipping as the punishment. Then we might see a situation where a state does not punish offenders at all and just turns a blind eye to Muslims who drink.

Ultimately, it is entirely up to that state what it wants to do with regards to the Shariah, whether it involves liquor, illicit sex, or whatever. But in situations like prostitution, rape, robbery, murder, etc., where we already have federal laws concerning such crimes, then federal laws and not state Shariah laws would apply. Federal laws override state laws even in matters concerning Islam. Only when the federal laws are ‘silent’ would the state laws apply.

The bottom line is, the state decides what it wants to do in all matters concerning Islam unless there are already federal laws to address certain issues, mostly related to crimes.

So, 20 years ago, Kelantan passed a bill in the State Assembly to enact the Shariah law of Hudud and, ten years ago, Terengganu did the same. So what is wrong with that? Isn’t that the powers of the states? Since it is legal then why are we making an issue out of it?

However, if it involves liquor, illicit sex and whatnot, the state can impose whatever punishment it wants. Only when it involves crimes already covered by federal laws will Parliament have to approve those new state laws first before they can be implemented.

And Parliament did not approve them. Parliament blocked the move by Kelantan and Terengganu and until today the Shariah law of Hudud can’t be implemented in those two states. That is also correct. That is within the powers of Parliament. And, until the majority in Parliament votes otherwise, this state of affairs will continue.

Now, assuming they do a referendum and more than half the citizens of Kelantan and Terengganu (two states where 97% of the population are Muslims) vote in favour of Hudud and, say, Parliament decides (by majority vote) to approve these laws since a referendum has been taken and more than half the citizens of those states voted in favour of these laws, is this not democracy at work?

We say we want democracy. Well, that is democracy. Why then are we still shouting and screaming?
So you see, democracy works both ways. And democracy may not necessarily always be good when we are in the minority. However, whether you like it or not, majority rules. And this is the reality we have to accept. Tough!

Now let us argue AGAINST.

The theists (in this case the Muslims) argue that the Shariah law of Hudud is God’s law. And because of that they want the Hudud laws to be implemented in Malaysia.

That is well and fine if Malaysia were a theological state. But Malaysia is not a theological state. Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy modelled after Britain’s Westminster system of government. In short, Malaysia is a Secular State with partial implementation of the Shariah -- but only in certain matters and certainly not in matters involving crime.

So, again, we have to go through the same process as what we argued above for the FOR. That means you need to get Parliament to approve these new state laws. And, to do that, you will need to control a majority in Parliament. And if that can’t be done, tough! Then nothing is going to happen.

Chances are we shall continue to see different governments at state and federal levels for a long time to come. And that would mean the federal government would continue to move in the opposite direction to the state governments. And that means the Shariah law of Hudud will continue to remain mere talk and an aspiration of certain people who are never going to see it happen.

Yes, Malaysia is a democracy. So you are free to continue talking about it and aspire to see it happen. That is your democratic right. But whether you are ever going to see it happen is another thing altogether. And it is not right for those people who grudge you talking about it and stop you from aspiring to see it happen. You have every democratic right to wish for the Shariah law of Hudud and no one should tell you to shut up.

In this situation both sides are wrong. Those who do not allow those who support Hudud to talk about it are wrong. And those who want to force Hudud down the throats of Malaysians using the argument that this is God’s law are also wrong.

Basically, you have a democratic right to dream about Hudud and to support it. And you also have a democratic right to have nightmares about Hudud and to oppose it. The problem is, both sides do not understand democracy and do not respect the democratic right of someone to support or oppose what they feel they want to support or oppose.

This is the crux to the whole matter and this is why we are seeing so much conflict amongst Malaysians with regards to this very touchy matter called Hudud.

Whilst the nation inches towards financial ruin…

I have to confess that most times that Arthur engages me on the global capital markets, much of what he says is Greek to me.
Still very much a kampung boy, I guess.
Not so kampung boy, though, that I cannot make out from this report in the Malaysianinsider that the attention of the whole world is turned to how Europe and the US deal with their debt crisis that is threatening to wreak havoc in national economies worldwide.
Well, the whole world except, it would seem, in Kelantan.
Maybe even the whole country.
Certainly, though, Kelantan seems oblivious to the impending financial crisis.
Nik Aziz seems determined to see hudud made the paramount law of all Kelantanese who profess Islam as their religion.
And the law applicable to any Muslim passing through the state.
Prof Aziz Bari, as reported in Malaysiakini, seems dead certain that the majority of Kelantanese are all for hudud law being implemented in the state.
Why, he says, the government is even prepared to take a referendum to the people on this issue.
What’s not clear from the report is, firstly, whether by ‘majority of Kelantanese’, Aziz also meant the non-Muslim community, and, secondly, whether the Kelantanese non-Muslim community would also partake in any state-wide referendum on the issue?
What good, though, would such a referendum serve unless those who think it unwise to de-secularise Kelantan are given the widest possible berth to share those concerns with all the Kelantanese?
Will PAS allow for this?
Aziz is quoted as saying that he had the opportunity to listen to the sentiments of the grassroots and thereby discerned their inclination towards the implementation of hudud in the state.
It would have been good if, even as he sought their views on the hudud, Aziz had also elicited from that same grassroot their thoughts and concerns about the economic development or, more accurately, the near absence thereof, in the state.
Kelantan is, after all, ranked 5th amongst all the states in terms of the incidence of poverty.
As PAS pushes to implement hudud, do they also have a plan to uplift the economic lot of the impoverished Kelantanese?
That you do not need hudud law to rejuvenate the economy is exemplified by what the Pakatan state government has achieved in Penang these last 3 years.
Aziz postulates that there is no restriction in the constitution for the introduction and implementation of Islamic law, including the hudud.
His reasoning then, seems to be that as there is no such restriction and as the majority favour it, the will of the majority be done.
Aziz must concede that there is also no prohibition in the constitution for the introduction into law of any Christian precepts.
According to Wikipedia, Sarawak has the largest population of Christians, over 43% of the population being of this faith.
26% are Muslim.
If the Christians in Sarawak could get another 10 % of the population to support them in a referendum, would Aziz go along with the state then justifiably legislating to, say, as an example, make it incumbent upon every Christian in the state to ‘take the Gospel to all, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’?
What’s good for Kelantan must surely be just as good for Sarawak, no?
Respectfully, I think Aziz Bari’s reasoning why hudud could, without any difficulty, be implemented in Kelantan is seriously flawed and, if time permits, I would try to address these various flaws in another posting.
The principal plank in Aziz’s flawed argument, in my view, is his outright dismissal to claims that we were, at the very inception of Malaya and, continuing through to the forming of the nation we now are, intended to be secular.
In taking this position, Aziz disregards the pronouncement by a 5-man bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Che Omar Che Soh that “…it can be seen that during the British colonial period, through their system of indirect rule and establishment of secular institutions, Islamic law was rendered isolated in a narrow confinement of the law of marriage, divorce and inheritance only. In our view, it is in this sense that the framers of the Constitution understood the meaning of the word ‘Islam’ in the context of Article 3. If it had been otherwise, there would have been another provision in the Constitution which would have the effect that any law contrary to the injunction of Islam will be void. Far from making such provision, Article 162, on the other hand, purposely preserves the continuity of secular law prior to the Constitution, unless such law is contrary to the latterwe have to set aside our personal feelings because the law in this country is still what it is today, secular law, where morality not accepted by the law is not enjoying the status of law. Perhaps that argument should be addressed at other forums or at seminars and, perhaps, to politicians and Parliament. Until the law and the system is changed, we have no choice but to proceed as we are doing today.”
Aziz knows well that to this day, Che Omar has never been overruled.
Ignored, perhaps, as Aziz now does, but never overruled.
Perhaps the leadership in Kelantan, and their advisors, would do well to take heed of the words of Salleh Abas, put aside their personal feelings, and look into the more pressing economic needs of the poor in Kelantan.

Beware of false prophets — Jacob Sinnathamby

SEPT 27 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak certainly talks a good game. It is election season and he needs to win big so everything goes.

Today he talks about how Bumiputera quotas need to go, eventually. No one knows when this eventually will be because as we all know the Umno-hijacked New Economic Policy was extended under pressure from the Umno beneficiaries.

Najib is not the first Umno president to talk about removing quotas or taking away the crutches from Bumiputeras.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Badawi both mentioned this when they wanted to show Malaysians that they were enlightened leaders and when they were fishing for support from non-Malays before elections.

Needless to say all their “good intentions” never materialised. Once they got the votes, they promptly forgot about taking away the quotas and instead fortified the distortions in the system.

Abdullah talked about open tenders but openly allowed Umno men and cronies to carry on negotiating inflated contracts. It is the same with Najib.

There is no such thing as open tenders today. In fact, it business as usual for well-connected businessmen and Umno warlords.

Anyone who reads news portals will know that the beneficiaries of many of the contracts are well-connected to Umno ministers or other leaders.

Heck, wasn’t it only weeks ago that Najib succumbed to Perkasa and gave a chunk of MRT contracts to Malay businessmen.

The problem in our country is that we have too many false prophets. They always come bearing gifts during the election season.

And you know what they say about false prophets and gifts.

* Jacob Sinnathamby reads The Malaysian Insider.

Najib On Bumiputera Quotas

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak said that there was a need to "run away" from quotas for Bumiputeras but they must continue to be supported to grow.

"You must run, go away from quotas. But you must support them (Bumiputeras) in a way that will allow them to grow from small and medium enterprises to get bigger and to become even regional champions," he said at a question and answer session at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2011 here Tuesday.

The Prime Minister said that quotas could hamper capable Bumiputera entrepreneurs from developing their abilities.

He feared that "if you give them quotas, they will rest on their laurels and eventually will not gain the expertise to manage businesses."

Najib said that one past criticism he had of the quota system was that the right kind of people was not being promoted. The affirmative action must now be based more on meritocracy.

"So, you must promote the right Bumiputeras. If you promote the right Bumiputeras, not only will they succeed, but the non-Bumiputeras will not begrudge them," he said.

Najib alluded to the Bumiputera Agenda Coordinating Unit in the Prime Minister's Department which had identified more than 1,000 companies that would be assisted to grow.

The Prime Minister also said the cabinet will decide tomorrow on the timeline for the proposed amendments to security and press laws to enhance civil liberties in the country and make Malaysia a more modern and vibrant democracy.

In his Malaysia Day message on Sept 15, Najib said the government would repeal the Internal Security Act 1960 and the Banishment Act 1959 and review other laws, including the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

Stressing that the government was serious about carrying out reforms, he said: "This coming Parliament session, you will see a slew of new legislation or actions."

Moluccas, explosive devices found in a church

by Mathias Hariyadi -

Ambon police also discover bomb in the local bus station. Hand of Islamic extremists from other parts of the country suspected. The discovery comes after clashes between Christians and Muslims last September 11. Fear of renewed interfaith conflict.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Tensions remain high in Ambon (Maluku) scene of fighting between Christians and Muslims last September 11. Yesterday, police discovered three pipe bombs inside the Maranatha Protestant church and near the local bus station. According to authorities the current tensions are the work of Islamic groups from outside the region.

The strategy of placing bombs in crowded places like markets, religious buildings, bus and train stations is typical of Islamic extremist groups active in the area of Poso (Central Sulawesi). From 1999 to 2001, Poso and Central Sulawesi province were the scene of bloody clashes between Christians and Muslims that claimed more than 2 000 victims.

Yesterday, several Muslim and Christian groups and organizations have asked the authorities to stop all those who come to Ambon without a specific reason. In a statement the youth of Mujammadiyah, a moderate Islamic group, said: "We strongly reject the arrival of people from outside because it could increase tension in the region." Young Muslims appeal to all the people of Ambon, Christians and Muslims, to find a solution to the fighting through local values and traditions.

Meanwhile, after the suicide attack last Sept. 25 against Bethel Christian Church in Kepunton Indonesia (Solo, Central Java), the police have deployed thousands of agents across the country and increased controls to protect churches from further attacks. Moderate Muslim groups like Nahdlatul Ulama have offered their help to protect Christians.