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Makkal Osai in deep trouble for publishing Jesus Christ caricature

Contributed by Anonymous on Wednesday, August 22 @ 08:21:23 CDT

National: Politics
Makkal Osai, the Tamil daily owned by former MIC deputy president S. Subramaniam, is in the receiving end for publishing a skewed image of Jesus Christ. The daily has been very critical of Samy Vellu since Subra’s defeat last year in the MIC deputy presidency. The recent Sujatha’s suicide case provided further ammunition for the daily to whack Samy and his son Vellpaari by highlighting the case in the front page everyday for weeks.


Now the table has been turned. Certainly, Samy Vellu is going to capitalize on this. Already, several calls have been made for the daily to be banned and MIC has quickly jumped into the wagon too.

**************************



MCCBCHS Calls For Probe And Action Against Tamil Daily


By S. Retna

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 22 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS) wants the authorities to investigate a Tamil newspaper, which published on its front page a picture of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette in one hand and a can, which looks like a beer can, in the other.

MCCBCHS president Datuk A. Vaithilingam wants the the Home Ministry to investigate and take action against those behind the publication of the picture.

Makkal Osai, a Tamil daily, printed the picture yesterday with a caption quoting Jesus Christ roughly as saying: "if someone repents for his mistakes, then heaven awaits them." The daily today apologised for the publication.

"Firstly, I'm surprised as to how they could make that mistake... it is a grave mistake. Newspapers should avoid publishing this kind of pictures as it causes hurt to people of that religion.

"As the nation nears its 50th independence day, we do not expect this kind of thing to crop up again and again. We will let the authorities investigate and take action that they deem fit," Vaithilingam told Bernama today.

However, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malaysia took a harder stance calling for a ban on Makkal Osai, saying that a precedent had been set in the past.

"When two newspapers published a caricature of Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban early last year, the government took immediate action banning the two newspapers. It was a right decision. Now we have this and they too should be served the same punishment as a lesson to others," Bishop Julious Paul said.

He said although the newspaper carried an apology today, it was not enough as the publication of the picture "looked deliberate and unacceptable."

Terming the publication of the picture as mischievous, he also wanted the newspaper to publish an apology not only in Makkal Osai but also in all major newspapers in the country as it had hurt the feelings of Christians in the country.

The MIC too supported the hard stance with its deputy president, Datuk G. Palanivel, wanting the ministry to act against the paper which had hurt the feelings of Christians in the country.

"The Home Ministry should take tough action against this kind of newspapers to drive home a clear message as religion is something which cannot be made fun of," he said, adding that he had received numerous calls from MIC members, both Christians and Hindus, to convey their anger and annoyance at the newspaper's total lack of responsibility.

The party, the largest Indian-based political party in the country, also felt that the publication of the picture was a "threat to national harmony".

Meanwhile, the MIC Youth submitted a four-page memorandum to the Prime Minister's office asking the government to revoke Makkal Osai's publication permit.

The memorandum was submitted by its social and welfare bureau secretary, S. Subramaniam, to the Prime Minister's special officer (policy) Raven Ponniah at Perdana Putra here.

In the afternoon, Puchong MIC member Peter A/L Sinnappan, 37, lodged a police report on the matter at the Tun H.S.Lee police station in Kuala Lumpur, saying that it was to prevent a repeat of the publication which insulted Christians.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Murphy Pakiam, said the picture of the sacred heart of Jesus was very sacred to Catholics as it depicts the heart of Jesus burning with love and tenderness for all people.

"As such, this caricature of the picture of Jesus, holding a cigarette in one hand and apparently a beer can in the other hand is a desecration and therefore hurtful to the religious sentiments of Catholics.

"It is certainly in bad taste for the editor of Makkal Osai to publish such a picture, although the message in the accompanying words is an attempt to call repentant sinners to hope and salvation," he said in a statement here.

-- BERNAMA

***********

Daily in hotspot over Jesus pictureYoges Palaniappan
Aug 22, 07 Malaysiakini
Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy Pakiam has expressed his displeasure over the image of Jesus Christ published in Tamil daily Makkal Osai yesterday.


The picture, published on the front page of the daily beside the masthead, had Jesus Christ holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer can in the other hand.

The message that accompanied the picture encouraged sinners to repent.

The picture and the message was part of the daily’s regular ‘thoughts for the day’ feature which highlighted famous quotations of world leaders and philosophers.

Murphy, in a press statement, described the picture as a “desecration and therefore hurtful to the religious sentiments of Catholics”.

“The picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is very sacred to Catholics as it depicts the heart of Jesus burning with love and tenderness for all people,” he said.

“It is certainly in bad taste for the editor of Makkal Osai to publish such a picture, although the message in the accompanying words is an attempt to call repentant sinners to hope and salvation,” he added.

Open apology

When contacted, Makkal Osai news editor BR Rajen said the staff who was responsible for allowing the image to be published has been suspended indefinitely.

“We have also printed an apology in today’s issue. We have explained what happened on our side,” he said, adding that the publication of the picture was not done with any bad intention.

The apology, carried over prominently in the second page, stated that the editorial team of the daily regretted publishing the picture.

“The leaders and philosophers with their respective message to the society are meant as food for the brains,” the apology read, adding that the featured picture was taken from the Internet.

“However, we regret this incident where Jesus Christ, who has gone through so much of pain for mankind and left valuable messages for all of us, was featured in such a manner,” ran the apology.

Murphy, when contacted later, said he accepted Makkal Osai's apology and considered the matter as closed.

Revoke the permit

However others were not so forgiving.

Bernama reported that the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS) wants the authorities to investigate the Tamil newspaper and take action against those behind the publication of the picture.

And the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malaysia took a harder stance calling for a ban on Makkal Osai.

MIC too got into the picture with its deputy president G Palanivel asking the government to act against the paper as it had hurt the feelings of Christians in the country.

At the same time, the MIC Youth submitted a four-page memorandum to the Prime Minister's Department this morning asking the government to revoke Makkal Osai's publication permit.

And in the afternoon, a party member lodged a police report on the matter at the Tun HS Lee police station in Kuala Lumpur, saying that it was to prevent a repeat of the publication which insulted Christians.


 
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