Twelve Fined for Cow Head Protest in Malaysia

Posted on August 18, 2010

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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, July 28, 2010: A Malaysian court on Tuesday fined 12 Muslims and sentenced one of them to a week in prison for illegally protesting the construction of a Hindu temple by parading a severed cow’s head.

The 12 men were among scores of Muslims who marched with a bloodied cow’s head from a mosque to the central Selangor state chief minister’s office on Aug 28, 2009 to denounce the state government’s plan to build a Hindu temple in their largely Muslim neighborhood. Some of the protesters also stomped and spat on the head and made fiery speeches that deeply offended Hindus.

All 12 pleaded guilty in a Selangor district court on Tuesday to a charge of illegal assembly and were fined 1,000 ringgit (US$310) each, said defense lawyer Afifuddin Hafifi. They faced up to a year in prison and a fine for the charge.

Two of them who brought and stepped on the cow’s head also pleaded guilty to sedition. Both were fined an additional 3,000 ringgit (US$930), and one was sentenced to a week in prison, Mr Afifuddin said.

The protest was among the most high-profile in a string of interfaith disputes in recent years that threatened religious peace among Malaysians. Early this year, a string of firebomb attacks and vandalism hit mostly non-Muslim places of worship following a court verdict that allowed Christians to use “Allah” in Malay-language publications.

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Posted in: Asia, Islam in World