by Muslim youth of East Preston Islamic College. Rev. Dr. Major (Retired) Timotheus Nasir, the Bishop of Siloam Biblical Christian Churches of Pakistan has condemned this heinous crime by the Muslim youth in strongest words and has demanded an apology from the entire Muslim world and the Muslim Heads of State, including the Organization of Islamic Conference. It must be remembered that the entire Muslim world showed the same sentiments on the issue of Desecration of Holy Koran at Guantanamo Bay in May 2005 and in February 2006 violent protests and demonstrations were seen all over the world. Yet when it comes to the Holy Bible, Muslims take it as their "Right" to insult Christian faith, the Holy Bible and he holy personage of Christians.
According to Greg Mason, the YMCA Camp Director at Lake Duwar, the 33 boys, aged between 13 to 15 were rude and badly behaved. The Muslim boys claimed that "they were picked on and racially taunted. Others say there was swearing and name calling".
But nothing could justify what happened next. According to reports, At around midnight on the last night of the camp on Tuesday last week five boys crept out of their cabin, one of them clutching a Bible. According to a school report of the incident, 13-year-old Ibrahim threw the Bible on the ground and urinated on it. He then tore some pages and set fire to them. Then he spat on it. Ramsee, 15, also tore out some pages and set fire to them. Zubair, 13, pretended to smoke a few pages, but claimed later to have tried to put out the fire. They then sneaked back to their beds.
The next morning a cleaner found the desecrated Bible on the ground and handed it to Mason, who then presented it to the three teachers from the college at the camp. "Greg told me, I have found this Bible, I don`t know if the Bible means anything to you, teacher Hussein Hassan told The Press. "I said, I beg your pardon, the Bible means a lot to my religion." Hassan gathered up the boys and gave them a spray. "I told them that whoever is involved they would suffer the consequences and this is disrespectful to our religion and to other religions."
He then rang college Principal Shaheem Doutie. Doutie, a South African Muslim, realized the gravity of the situation and the ramification for the school in Melbourne`s northern suburbs. "I immediately ordered them back from camp and gathered them in the school hall and then the story came out," Doutie said.
Some in local Islamic community feared the incident could spell the end for the school founded in 1998, which has been beset by discipline problems among its 650 pupils, who are mostly from working-class Somali and Lebanese families.
While the boys` parents have refused requests from the school to discuss the incident and the boys are not talking about it any more, Doutie does not believe it was a carefully thought out protest. Rather, he believes it was an "ignorant" act from "illiterate" boys who did not understand the significance of what they were doing. Doutie expelled Ibrahim and Ramsee and suspended Zubair. He then called in the school`s Imam, Oman Haouli, to speak to the group that went to the camp. "I asked the Imam to talk to them about the importance of the Bible to the Islamic religion to make sure it never happens again," he said. "Clearly some of the boys did not know the importance of the Bible. I think it was ignorance combined with naughtiness." Imam Haouli, who spoke to the boys last Friday, said his lesson to the group was "to respect their neighbors and respect all religions".
The matter might have ended there, except that 22 of the 65 teachers at the school wanted apologies from the college as well as from the boys and their parents. In their petition, signed by Muslim and non-Muslim teachers, the teachers say "the incident implies a deep hatred inculcated in the students towards the Christian/non-Muslim teachers". They also referred to "previous incidents" of hostility from students to the non-Muslim teachers, numbering about 30 at the school. Many say that hardliner Muslim parents have bred hardliner Muslim students and that Islamic schools cannot be held responsible for the radicalization of the young. Others say that is a cop-out. Several teachers are known to be concerned that some fundamentalist colleagues, Salafists, exert a powerful influence at EPIC.
At a tense staff meeting on Monday, Doutie handed out a letter stating that the boys had been expelled and that the Bible was "an important book for non-Muslims as well as Muslims and should be treated as a holy book by all religions". He said the school "unconditionally apologizes for this horrible act as conducted by some illiterate and ignorant students while under the care of EPIC teachers".
Bishop Nasir has questioned the entire Muslim world that if in Pakistan, "Illiterate" and "Ignorant" Christians are beaten, jailed and sentenced on very minor and more often fabricated allegations against any thing held sacred by Muslims, why the Muslim youth and their parents can get away with on word, Apologize". Very recently two Christians both "Illiterate" and aged victims were sentenced for Ten year rigorous imprisonment, no one talked of apology. (both Christian convicts are 70 years and a 75 old). Bishop Nasir faced a "Law Suit" for One Hundred Million Rupees on answering a question by a Mullah. The question to the Bishop was, "Where did you learn to lie" and the Bishop's answer was "from Muslims". This was one of many allegations against Bishop Nasir in the "Law Suit" against him in Sindh High Court Karachi, Pakistan. The desecration and insult of the Holy Bible in Melbourne Australia, was of greater magnitude yet no Islamic country or Muslim leader around the world uttered a single word to condemn this worst hate crime against Christians around the world.
Bishop Nasir has urged Christian all over the world to "Protest" such heinous crime against the Holy Bible in strongest words and demand an apology from Muslim world. No matter if the culprits were "Illiterate or Ignorant". Apology from a single person or institution is meaningless. The Apology of the school is however not acceptable to Pakistani Christians, said the Bishop.