KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 ― Amid Malaysia’s growing interfaith heat, a women’s rights activist complained that a Kedah blog had been spreading false news of apostasy based on a two-year-old photograph featuring him and several Muslim women sitting on wooden benches that appeared to resemble church pews.
Despite the misleading and potentially inflammatory claim, Yu Ren Chung said he would not be filing a complaint with any authority, adding it was enough for him to clarify the matter on his own website (http://www.renchung.com/)
On his website, he claimed the picture was originally taken on February 29, 2012 at an event to discuss the National Family Policy organised by government agency National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN).
The advocacy officer with the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) stressed that the venue was not in a church but at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (Istac) here.
Today, he said he was not the only person implicated in the blog.
“All these people, if they want to, they can take action,” he told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Yu said he had only recently discovered that the two-year-old image was being spread on Indonesian blogs and online fora, ostensibly as photographic proof that many Malaysian Muslims were being converted to Christianity in churches ― a hot-button issue now with several Malay and Muslim rights groups claiming their faith is being undermined by Malaysia’s religious minorities.
He said he traced the apostasy claims to a Kedah-based blog but declined to reveal its name and provided only a screencapture of its March 27, 2012 post on his website.
He told The Malay Mail Online he had raised the issue in two blog posts the past two days, to expose the allegations as untruth and point out the “blatant lying” that was done.
Yu said he had it was sufficient for him that “the matter is put straight online” and saw no need to file a complaint with Internet regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
“The takeaway is people must do more investigation and research before making this kind of very serious allegation,” he said.
The Malay Mail Online has contacted the MCMC for comment and is still awaiting its response.
Checks by The Malay Mail Online this evening showed that the picture with the provocative caption and the apostasy allegations are still up on the Kedah blog.