Friday, August 24, 2007

Malaysia in the BBC: Anger at Malaysia 'Jesus Cartoon'

UPDATED: The Makkal Osai has been suspended for a month, proceeding similar cases such as the indefinite suspension Sarawak Tribune, firing of China Press two top editors and a two-week ban on Guang Ming Daily.

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The MIC didn't give a hoot about the KPMU case, but wanted to act like a hero demonizing the paper which gave the scoop on the Sujatha murder/Vel Parri case.

And see the double standard? On one hand this bugger told us "Do not mock any religion" but his party's supporter website gets away scot-free.

Anger at Malaysia 'Jesus cartoon'
By Jonathan Kent
BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia saw protests over the Prophet Muhammad cartoons
A Malaysian newspaper is facing calls to shut down after it published an image of Jesus holding a cigarette and what appeared to be a can of beer.

Malaysia's Muslim-led government closed two publications last year for carrying controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Now some members of Malaysia's minority religions say they want the same treatment over this latest incident.

Religion is a famously sensitive subject in Malaysia.

So when Tamil-language newspaper, Makkal Osai, published a picture on its front page apparently showing Jesus smoking and drinking it was bound to cause offence.

Christian groups said that although the Jesus of the Bible was a compassionate figure - who turned water into wine, shared a flagon with his disciples at the Last Supper and mixed with tax collectors and prostitutes - action should still be taken.

The paper has since issued an apology, explaining that a graphics editor had mistakenly taken the image from the internet. Most of Malaysia's churches appear to have been appeased.

Not so though the Malaysian Indian Congress, an ethnic Tamil political party in the governing coalition, most of whose members are Hindu.

A senior party official has demanded that Makkal Osai's editor be sacked and the paper closed.

Interestingly, Makkal Osai has been very critical of the Malaysian Indian Congress, which owns a rival Tamil-language newspaper.

Non-Muslims are also waiting to see how the government responds, given that it took tough action over the publication of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons.

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