There were a few more minor incidents at churches on Sunday; more vandalism, but no more buildings were gutted. In fact the incidents seem to have served as a bit of a wake up call for the nation, as many newspapers began asking “Is this the road we want our nation to be on?” Representative of the desire to re-establish civility in this issue is this article from Kuala Lumpur’s daily, The Sun:

In the wake of Molotov cocktail attacks against several churches since Friday, there has been an outpouring of goodwill and offers of assistance to the Christian community. Admirably, in the face of the attacks, one message which resonated in many churches during services over the weekend was the call for calm and forgiveness, and resisting any urge for revenge and retaliation.

Metro Tabernacle church senior pastor Rev Ong Sek Leang, whose church in Taman Melawati was torched on Friday, told a press conference after Sunday services in a rented building,“What happened was caused by only a small segment of the people. It was great to see people of all communities, faiths and social levels reaching out to help. It really reflects what Malaysians are about. It is a clear message to our nation that we are a well-integrated and connected family,” he said, visibly happy with the outpouring of goodwill and assistance offered to the church in its hour of distress.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak announced that the government will give the church RM500,000 for its new building near Batu Caves. Yesterday, Ong also received a RM100,000 donation from CIMB Group CEO Datuk Nazir Razak, towards Metro Tabernacle’s new building which is expected to cost RM1.5 million. Nazir said the CIMB Group was happy to provide assistance for the restoration of the church. “I speak for all at the CIMB Group that we condemn acts of violence, especially those that desecrate places of worship and dishonour the bonds of respect and tolerance upon which our nation is based,” said Nazir, the brother of Najib.

Elsewhere, Christians attended Sunday service as usual, unbowed by the incidents as at least three more churches were targeted in Taiping, Miri and Malacca. About 1,000 worshippers at the Catholic Church of Assumption in Petaling Jaya, which was targeted by the arsonists, were briefed by parish priest Phillips Muthu on the incident. “I told them we don’t want to blame any people, any quarter, any religion. We are peaceful and we are here to offer our prayer for the nation,” he said at the church, where a firebomb damaged part of the grounds. “Of course we are afraid after the incident, but life has to go on.”

Meanwhile, six Muslim NGOs yesterday offered their assistance and support to their “Christian brothers and sisters”. Executive secretary Datuk Nadzim Johan said the NGOs, were prepared to give a hand to their Christian counterparts should they need assistance. “Looking at the current situation, we are taking proactive and pre-emptive measures to offer our services to the public and also help the government to ensure peace in the country,” he told a press conference. He also invited Christian leaders to sit together with them and discuss ways they can collectively avoid divisive issues so that all Malaysians can continue to live in peace and harmony.

We would ask our regular readers to pray for peace in Malaysia, that the work of God may go on unimpeded, and that Christians would continue to follow Christ’s admonition to “Love your enemies.”

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