In Malaysia where religious sensitivities are high by default, a semblance of tolerance is needed by believers of all faiths. When religion is equated to race, the thermostat on tolerance is set lower than normal and when the community is relatively poor, lowly educated, lacking in cultural maturity and insecure spiritually, the danger setting is much lower still.
What befell this surau (worship place) is an example of a community which has its tolerance thermostat set at the lowest level. In retrospect, the resort owner brought it upon himself by failing to read into the community much to his detriment.
The punishment meted out to both the owner and his property is swift and final and the question of “intention” has been deemed immaterial in this whole episode. The issue of “Qiblat” (direction of praying towards Mecca) was opportunistically exploited to fan faith adherents’ sentiment and hence triggering the full force of herd mentality with its ugly ramifications.
When voices of reasons are drowned and leaders are typically not leading, a community runs the risk of being shackled by confirmation bias and fuzzy thinking.
Whither then ” In the name of God, Most Gracious,Most Merciful” , a constant proclamation by the faithfuls?
I remain speechless.