Friday, January 08, 2010
Masjid Negara ~ The 'Allah' issue protest in pictures.
I reached Masjid Negara quite early this morning. It was drizzling and apart from a few strategically placed banners proclaiming slogans of the protest organizers, there were not that many people around save for the usual tourists alighting from the buses and posing for photographs before the masjid.
I met several Muslims who were preparing banners for the protest. They greeted me by my nickname and expressed their gladness to see me there. From what I could see, it seemed that they were members of PEKIDA, one of the organizers.
After exchanging salams, I went for a walkabout to check out how things were going around the masjid?
Usual crowd of traders were setting up shop behind the national mosque to cater for their usual customers. Was still drizzling. Lucky I had my umbrella. Dared not use the DSLR camera for fear of it getting wet. Just snapped a few shots using the Nikon C200 Coolpix of the sights around there.
I returned to our car which I had parked in the mosque's carpark and then went to take my ablution.
Soon, it was getting crowded as more and more members of the congregation arrived and things were finally starting to take shape.
Volunteers were manning the petition signing table and quite a number of them looked quite professional in communicating through their walkie talkies to one another as they went about fixing the banners at the demarcated strategic places.
When the azan was cried out, we gathered in the masjid and took part in the Jumaat prayers.
After the offering of supplementary sunnah prayers, I headed for the main demonstration areas and took pictures.
There were lots of other photographers and one particularly famous photoblogger @ Minaq Jinggo who is a friend of mine playfully came from behind and tugged at my camera strap! :P
As a tit for tat response, I took several shots of him which I am going to display here in this article! Serves you right Jinggo for surprising me..hehehehehe...
The protest started off with the usual shouts of 'Takbir' which was boisterously echoed by the large crowd of Muslims amidst a sea of reporters, journalists and the watching few policemen and women.
A police helicopter buzzed the crowd quite closely a few times in what I figure was an act of intimidation of the gathered demonstrators...
A songkok wearing member of PERKASA addressed the crowd using a loudhailer in Malay denouncing the High Court judgment by Justice Dato Lau Bee Lan, a staunch Christian to allow the Catholic Church of Malaysia permission to use the word 'Allah' in their weekly Herald in church magazine.
I was busy capturing the scenes and sights of the crowd and didn't get to hear much of what he was saying due to the general raucous crowd of my fellow Muslims who were peeved at this biased decision of the Christian judge.
The person addressing the crowd then abruptly ended his speech and I was wondering whether there was going to be anyone else who was going to speak; maybe this time around in English as to cater to the attending media but there was none.
That was about it! I was a tad disappointed, I must say and I made my way back up to the upper level foyer from where the speaker addressed the crowd. The speaker was not there anymore and I felt that I had to voice out too!
So I let fly with a few takbirs of my own which was enthusiastically taken up by my fellow Muslims and declared the Kalimah at Tayyibah this time around in English! My brothers responded well earnestly and not wanting to go hoarse, I ended my takbirs with the Syahadah which was again repeated with power by the attending Muslims.
The media then made a beeline for the organizers and had their impromptu press conferences.
I came across MACMA President Dato Hj Mustapha Maa and I asked him if he was willing to give his statement on video?
Dato Hj Mustapha Maa obliged and I managed to get a few minutes of his speech which I will be processing and uploading here soon.
In the meantime, do take care and keep me updated if you have anything to add?