Civil Society Joint Merdeka Message: The Cow-Head Lesson for Merdeka: Delegitimize Violence and Hatr

The Centre for Independent Journalism supports civil society in expressing outrage at the cow-head protest against the relocation plan for a temple in Shah Alam and call for all Malaysians to delegitimize violence and hatred.



We, the undersigned civil
society organizations are shocked, angered and saddened by the
“Cow-Head protest” in Shah Alam last Friday, 28 August 09,
against a proposed Hindu temple in Section 23 of the city. The
carrying of the head of a freshly slaughtered cow, a sacred animal to
the Hindus, and the unveiled threat of bloodshed on the eve of
Merdeka celebration suggests that all Malaysians need to reflect
deeply about our 52 years of nationhood, and the clarion call of


From the outset, these
heinous acts of crime perpetrated by the irresponsible few must NEVER
be seen as a conflict between the two faiths or the two faith
communities. All major spiritual traditions, Islam and Hinduism
included, uphold peace and human dignity as their common and core
values. Our spirituality and love for humanity mandates us for the
perpetual quest for peace and abhorrence of all forms of hatred and
civil disorder.


The Shah Alam incident
sadly reveals that violence and hatred are still inadequately
delegitimized in our society. We exhort all Malaysians to unite in
our joint efforts to decry and delegitimize violence and hatred to
prevent any individual or grouping from resorting to intimidation and
provocation when faced with any town-planning disputes or rows of
similar nature.


We the undersigned,
taking cognizance of the above, do hereby:

  1. URGE that all
    disputes in civil society must be resolved through peaceful means
    such as peaceful demonstrations, rational dialogues, extensive
    consultations and legal suits. The Selangor State Government’s
    plan to hold a town hall meeting to facilitate communication and
    engagement with all stakeholders is highly commendable.

  1. CONDEMN in the
    strongest possible language any act to humiliate and intimidate any
    ethno-religious community, in this case the irreligious and
    irresponsible display of a cow head. In Shah Alam incident, not only
    the Hindus are humiliated and hurt but also all thinking Malaysians
    – Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, those of other
    spiritual traditions and atheist. We particularly share the pain and
    anguish of the Shah Alam Hindu community.

URGE all religious
authorities, community leaders and political parties to unreservedly
condemn the perpetrators of the reprehensible “Cow-Head” act.
Every racial and religious bigot should be shamed and distanced by
the general public especially by their ethno-religious community,
which they seek to represent. Political parties must also take
disciplinary action against members involved in inciting hatred.
This would deprive them the pleasure and gratification of
self-righteousness and heroism. Legal punishment alone may prove
inadequate because it may instead grant the offenders the
self-perceived honour of martyrdom.

  1. SUPPORT a thorough
    investigation of those responsible for the “Cow-Head” protest
    for threatening violence (not sedition) on both the local Hindu
    community and the elected State Government of Selangor. Threats of
    violence, for whatever reason; has no place in civilized society.
    Violence must be condemned and can only be completely delegitimized
    when society has zero tolerance for it and every offender is
    appropriately punished.

  1. EXPRESS shock and
    dismay at the failure of the police force to stop the protestors
    from issuing their threats of bloodshed. An independent
    investigation on professional negligence should be immediately
    initiated to examine these policing failures of a potentially
    fulminating racial and religious crisis. This incident among others
    further highlights the dire importance and urgent need for an
    Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). The
    IPCMC is a must if the Najib Administration is genuinely committed
    to peace in Malaysia.

  1. CALL on all
    Malaysians to heed our plea to completely delegitimize violence and
    hatred and to strive towards its elimination from our public life.
    Let this be our joint resolution for our nation’s forthcoming
    Merdeka anniversary. Let us usher in a Malaysia, which cherishes the
    values of peace, reason, justice, freedom, equity and inclusion for
    all Malaysians.

The undersigned groups:

1. 1BLACKMalaysia Facebook Group

2. All Women’s Action Society
Malaysia (AWAM)

3. Centre for Policy Initiatives

4. Civil Rights Committee, Kuala
Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (CRC-KLSCAH)

5. Civil Society Committee, LLG
Cultural Development Centre (LLGCSC)

6. Civil Society Initiative for
Parliamentary Reform (CSI@Parliament)

7. Coalition of Malaysian NGOs
Against Persecution of Palestinians (COMPLETE)

8. Coalition of Selangor Indian NGOs

9. Consumer Association of Klang

10. Council of Churches of Malaysia
(CCM) Youth

11. Council of Malaysia Indian Trustee

12. Durham Malaysian Scholars (DMS)

13. Friends in Conversation (FIC)

14. Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC)

15. Hindu Youth Organization, Port

16. Human Development and Research

17. Islamic Medical Association of
Malaysia (IMAM)

18. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

19. Justice for Beng Hock Facebook

20. Kelab Sukan Depot Port Klang

21. Klang Vellarun Kalai Pannai

22. Letchumi Pooja Dhana Manbran Klang

23. Majlis Kelab Belia Tamil Selangor

24. Malaysia Belia Hindu Negeri

25. Malaysia Hindu Sangam Klang

26. Malaysia Hindu Sangam Selangor
State Council

27. Malaysia Indian Youth Council

28. Malaysian AIDS Council

29. Malaysian Hindu Dharma Mamandram

30. Malaysian Social Research
Institute (MSRI)

31. Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)

32. Nadaraikia Sangam Selangor

33. Palestine Centre of Excellence

34. Pamban Swami Maha Teja Mandala

35. People’s Parliament

36. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM (Lihua)
Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur

37. Persatuan Kebajikan Bharathana

38. Persatuan Kebajikan Cahaya Wawasan

39. Persatuan Kebajikan Nammakkal

40. Persatuan Kebajikan Vanniar

41. Persatuan Kemajuan Pendidikan

42. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti
Selangor (Empower)

43. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor &
Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas)

44. Persatuan Pembaca Tamil Klang

45. Persatuan Peniaga Little India

46. Persatuan Penyelidikan Astronomi

47. Persatuan Prihatin Belia Malaysia

48. Persatuan Thiruvallavar

49. Persatuan Wawasan India Selangor

50. Pertubuhan Jamaah Islah Malaysia

51. Pertubuhan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian
India Selangor

52. Pertubuhan Kesedaran Hari Krishna

53. Pusat Komas

54. Research for Social Advancement

55. Selangor Indian Videographers

56. Sri Vadivelu Culture and Welfare
Association Selangor

57. Sri Vaishnava Paribalana Saba

58. Suara Raykat Malaysia (SUARAM)

59. The Divine Life Society Port Klang

60. The Micah Mandate (TMM)

61. Vishnu Periyaval Sabai

62. Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)