- Catholic Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing said the "cooked up" perception that Islam is under threat in Malaysia "is presently the biggest menace to national well-being."
"This perception resides in the fevered imaginations of a few and has spawned hate speech and intrusive actions that are an embarrassment to many and oppression to several," said the head of the Catholic Church in the Malacca-Johor diocese.
Tan said it was a relief that Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim was prepared to describe as an "embarrassment" the action by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) in intruding on a Hindu wedding at a temple last Sunday where the bride was taken away for questioning.
"Insofar as there is said to be a general culture in this country, an action such as that taken by Jais must be said to be embarrassing and uncultured," observed the Jesuit-trained prelate.
"I credit Khalid (right) in acknowledging this to be so - it comes as a breath of fresh air at a time when some religious people feel their principles must outweigh good manners and courtesy," said the bishop.
"Come to think of it, this is about the first time someone in high authority has spoken up on the need for manners over false rectitude. This must count as a minor triumph in the struggle for sanity in the face of religious hysteria," he asserted.
The outspoken prelate said that "given the silence amounting to craven acquiescence among people in high authority, a cabal of bigots is going around doing things as if they are a law unto themselves."
"As we have seen in every age, this type of behavior is a prelude to fascism. It only takes the continuing silence of those in authority and the submission of ordinary citizens for fascists to triumph and for the rest to knuckle under their reign," he said.
"It is amazing that the government has not said anything or taken any action against outrageous manifestations of fascism," he asserted.
Tan urged the silent majority of Malaysians to say "No" to forces that want to see good manners steamrolled by "people wearing brass knuckles in a religious cause.
Bishop credits MB's stand on Jais
Terence Netto | 10:31AM Jun 5, 2014