Selangor authorities arrested 12 Muslims parading a severed cow's head in Shah Alam, to protest the relocation of a 150 year old Hindu temple 200 metres from their neighbourhood.
As Guam Diary reported, the authorities had a found the site for the temple because Malaysian law stipulates that had the demographics of a neighbourhood shifted towards a Malay or Muslim majority, any place of worship other than a mosque would have to be removed and built elsewhere. And such was the case of the Hindu temple in proximity to Shah Alam. [Guam Diary will not comment on intent of the law, which favours, to say the least, segregation of racial groups in Malaysia and upholds the primacy of Islam in all matters.]
Fifty angry demonstrators denigrated the Hindu religion by brandishing the bloody cow's head in front of government offices.
Twelve protestors appeared before a judge magistrate. Five are charged with sedition, 6 others with unlawful assembly, and one might have been dismissed, but that is not certain. No trial date was set; all defendants, released on their own recognisance, The case will be heard again on 21 October 2009.
According to local officials, all but one protestor lived in Shah Alam. Eleven came from elsewhere, who taken by the power of their own oratory, waxed in fiery fury to denounce the relocation of the Hindu temple, thereby with intent inciting the Muslims of Shah Alam towards insurrection against State authorities.
Now in the charge of sedition is a serious office, and one not proferred lightly in Malaysia. Yet, it does seem strange that the court did not see fit to impose heavy bail or remand the 5 men charged to gaol until the court reheard arguments in late October.
Where the shoe on the other foot say, the perpetrators would be under lock and key, were it an offense against Islam. Bloody rioting and yes lynching if not murder would have ensued. Charges of blasphemy, sedition would ring from the highest rafter, it is safe to say. But sedition in this case, is as lightly worn as gossamer wings.
It is more likely than not, the charge of sedition will be dropped in October, the case treated with a lax hand, and the firebrands released to engage in mayhem and mischief once again.
It is not difficult to document the case that Malaysia sets double weights and double weights for non Muslims; that a mild form of racial and religious apartheid obtains; and that civil justice in Malaysia is skewered and discriminatory.