KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - The Catholic archbishop of Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday criticised the government's decision not to prosecute two Muslim journalists who entered a church and allegedly desecrated the communion wafer.
The pair published an article in the Al-Islam magazine describing how they took the wafer and spat it out after joining a church service to investigate claims that Muslims were illegally converting to Christianity.
'The journalists have displayed utmost disrespect for the Catholic community when they admit receiving and spitting out the Holy Communion,' Archbishop Murphy Pakiam told a press conference.
The communion is the centre of the Catholic Mass, and the wafer represents the body of Jesus Christ.
Murphy said he was disappointed with the magazine for failing to apologise over the 'heinous offence,' and with the government for its 'failure to act'.
'The silence does not augur well on inter-religious harmony and peace,' he told reporters.
'We are appealing to the authorities to take their stand,' the archbishop said, adding that Catholics would be satisfied with a public apology from the journalists and the magazine.
'Yes, forgiveness is the main line in our 'club',' he said.
A senior police officer who declined to be identified confirmed there were no plans to take action against the journalists.
'We have investigated the case and forwarded the investigation paper to the (Attorney-General's) Chambers,' he told AFP.
'The AG's Chambers has classified the case as 'no further action' (to be taken),' he added. 'The case is closed for the time being.'
Multi-ethnic Malaysia has been rocked in recent months by religious disputes including firebombings of churches and mosques triggered by a dispute over the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims.
The rows have strained relations between majority Muslim Malays and minorities including ethnic Chinese and Indian communities who fear the country is being 'Islamised.'