PETALING JAYA: Peace-loving Malaysians have maintained that the intimidation by protestors in front of a Taman Medan church was unwarranted whether or not it had the right to operate as a place of worship.
Politicians, non-governmental organisations and religious groups were united in their stand against the protest, with some stressing that action should be taken against the demonstrators.
The G25 group of prominent Malays said it was appalled by "the mindless act of hatred and intolerance" of the protestors.
"The Taman Medan protestors, by their crude, disrespectful and unreasonable behaviour, have tarnished the image of Islam, the very religion they claim to 'protect'," the group said.
Global Movement of Moderates chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the protest was "not justified" as the group was not against the legality of the church, but against the cross that was put up on the building facade.
He said that if the demonstrators were disputing the legality of the church, then the protest should have been held outside the Petaling Jaya City Council office.
PAS central committee member and Parit Buntar MP Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa questioned why the protestors were not charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act, which prohibits demonstrations within 50m of places of worship.
He also felt the act of the protestors was tantamount to religious incitement and hatred, elements which were introduced in the recent amendments to the Sedition Act.
Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president Jagir Singh said even if the church was unlicensed, it did not give others a license to carry out a seditious protest.
Selangor Umno chief Noh Omar said none of the demonstrators represented the party.
"The protest had nothing to do with Umno," said Noh, adding that he had read in the media that they were from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Asked about some of the participants who were known to be Umno members, Noh said there were many members who were in NGOs.
The protesters had their supporters, too. Isma's missionary chief Omar Kassim told Ismaweb that the protest was warranted as there were too many churches in Selangor for the number of Christians in the state.