Let me just reproduce the press statement by two persons recently (on 8 July):
We are deeply concerned that two Muslim men acting on false information that the Catholic Church was converting Muslims into Christians had recently entered a Catholic Church service for the purpose of gathering information as to whether this was occurring.
They were also investigating whether the word ‘Allah’ was being used in church services. These men participated in the church service and even took part in the rituals that are strictly for Catholics and in doing so violated the sanctity of what Catholics hold very sacred.
These men later wrote about their experience in an article entitled “Tinjaun Al Islam Dalam Gereja:Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad” which was published in the May 2009 issue or the Al Islam magazine.
The men had consumed the ‘communion’ which is a white wafer which is blessed by the Priest in a Catholic ritual that dates back 2000 years. Via this ritual the ‘white wafer’ is supernaturally transformed into what Catholics believe to be Jesus Christ and when consumed allows Catholics to experience life after death. The ‘communion’ is held with great reverence and cannot in any way be mishandled or with a lack of respect. Even Catholics are not allowed to take home the ‘communion’ but are instructed to consume it immediately during the service. Catholics go through an elaborate process of preparing themselves to receive this ‘communion’ worthily and those who have not done so are advised to refrain from receiving it.
As such we are outraged that these Muslim men consumed it only to spit it out later, have it photographed and have its image published in the Al-Islam magazine. The total disrespect shown to what Catholics hold in closest to their hearts and believe to be most Holy strikes deep into our hearts and invokes much anger. While we are resolved not to allow anger to guide our actions and instead pray that these ignorant will be forgiven by the Allah, we want to know what has become of this most holy ‘communion’ and demand its immediate return to the church authorities.
We are further outraged that these Muslim men have violated our sense of privacy to freely worship. Would these men tolerate non-Muslims entering the mosque and violating the sanctity and holiness of their worship? We believe that all places of worship and the form of worship practiced in these places must be respected with the greatest sensitivity and reverence be they the church, mosque, temple or gurdwaras. Entering these premises with the intention to spy and worse to violate the sanctity of the worship only serves to incite anger and hatred that could lead to potentially dangerous consequences that would tear this country apart.
As such, as concerned Catholics, we have made a police report at the Patani Road Police station on 8th July 2009 and thereafter held a press conference at the same place. We requested that the police investigate this matter with great urgency and bring to books those responsible for acting to incite hate and resentment among the Catholic Community. We also call on the police to investigate both the Al-Islam magazine and the writers of the article.
Joachim Francis Xavier & Sudhagaran Stanley