Cops to probe baptism SMS
By CHAN LI LEEN
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.
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A few points of focus:
1) The origin of the text message is unknown - Either they are really THAT gullible to believe a random few lines of an SMS sent by a stranger, or they are really trying to cover-up the "culprit" (probably out of shame, since it turned out to be a misunderstanding)
2) No verification of authenticity of message before action - Either they have already believed the message 80%, or they have no idea that they can call up the network to investigate or they did not bother to check at all.
3) The herd behaviour - Other political/non-political parties came and joined the party, out of the draw of the crowd,.... AND also without checking the message origin.
4) "Culprit" is not a catholic - The "culprit" obviously do not know the difference between a baptism and first Holy Communion.
5) Verdict before trial - Action are taken before investigation, before sitting down to discuss, and before inviting the church party to talk. They have ample time to do that, but instead they decided to make a tiger show out of it.
6) Miracle turned tragedy - This is supposed to be a day of celebration, and historical too. 98 children, imagine that. The kids surely will remember this day for the rest of their lives.... Somebody must be REALLY jealous.
Somebody please pass me the phone number of those people who believed the message, so that I can forward them a message to ask for their help in transfering my $25 million Nigerian bank account out of the country. By the way, I hear that a rogue Tibetan monk is planning to do a striptease for charity in Kampung Mangkuk's mosque next Tuesday.