KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Dozens of Malaysian Muslims paraded Friday with the head of a cow, a sacred animal in Hinduism, in a dramatic protest against the proposed construction of a Hindu temple in their neighborhood.
The unusual protest by some 50 people in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor state, raises new fears of racial tensions in this multiethnic Muslim-majority country where Hindus comprise about 7 percent of the 27 million population.
The demonstrators who marched from a nearby mosque after Friday prayers dumped the cow head outside the gates of the state government headquarters. Selangor adjoins Kuala Lumpur.
Keen to insult another religion, they are perhaps unaware that by going against clearly stated rules in the Qur’an, they are insulting their own religion too. The demonstrators (with claims of hijack or otherwise) are seemingly unaware of what the Qur’an teaches:
وَلا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ كَذَلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ مَرْجِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“And insult not those who worship besides Allâh, lest they insult Allâh wrongfully without knowledge. Thus we have made fairseeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do.”
Even since the time of Musa (Moses), the same command had been in place. In the face of the most stubborn and violent Fir’aun (pharoah), Allah had declared to the Prophets Musa and Harun:
اذْهَبَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَى
فَقُولا لَهُ قَوْلا لَيِّنًا لَعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَى
“Go, both of you, to Fir’aun (Pharaoh). Verily, he has transgressed (all bounds In disbelief and disobedience and behaved as an arrogant and as a tyrant).
And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allâh.”
All these are based on the graciousness, softness, and kindness that encompass what a Muslim must embody and act with:
ادْعُ إِلَى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ ضَلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
“Invite (all) to the way of Your Lord with wisdom and preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best (and most gracious): for Your Lord knows best who has strayed from His path, and He is Best Aware who receive guidance.”