Monday November 6, 2006
Cops to probe baptism SMS
IPOH: The police are investigating a rumour which spread like wildfire through SMS, claiming that a group of Muslims will be baptised at a church here.
As a result, a large crowd gathered at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Silibin from 7.30am yesterday to protest against the alleged baptism only to find out that it was actually the first Holy Communion for 98 Indian children.
State police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Aziz Bulat said the police would verify how the SMS had started.
"There could be some people out there who have a personal agenda to create disharmony among the races," he said when met at the church.
DCP Aziz said the police had also received the text message and had, therefore, placed the Federal Reserve Unit on standby since 7am.
He advised the public to be wary of such messages.
"Don't accept everything you read or hear as total truth," he said, adding that he would call on all involved parties to help with the investigation.
The protesters, who included members of opposition parties and non-governmental organisations, gathered for some four hours and refused to disperse initially despite warnings from the police.
They finally started to leave at 11.20am after Deputy OCPD (II) Supt Lai Yong Heng issued a stern warning.
Perak Religious Department director Datuk Jamry Sury, who was present to monitor the situation, said the department would also investigate the incident.
"We will take action against the culprit," he added.
Perak Pusat Khidmat Islam secretary Mohd Nazri Sahad said he was there to check if there was any truth to the message.
The police were still on standby at the church last night.
Father Fabian Dicom, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Penang, which covers Perak, said the church was extremely concerned that a group of people had been sowing ill-will through rumours.
"We are concerned as to how others have come to believe these rumours," he added.
He noted that the incident had also infringed on the church members' right to worship.
"The Catholic Church has always believed that dialogue is the best platform to resolve issues and as such is extremely disappointed that there was no attempt whatsoever for dialogue," he said.