Malaysian teen's 'like' on 'I love Israel' Facebook page, triggers anger, possible charges

(Photo: REUTERS / Olivia Harris)People chant anti-Israel slogans at a pro Palestine rally in Kuala Lumpur August 2, 2014. Israel launched its Gaza offensive on July 8 in response to a surge of rocket attacks by Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists. Hamas said that Palestinians would continue confronting Israel until its blockade on Gaza was lifted.

A Malaysian secondary school student is under police investigation for sedition after allegedly liking an "I love Israel" Facebook page.

The 17-year-old boy from the northern state of Penang was called in for questioning on August 13 by the South Seberang Perai police.

"We are investigating him under Section 4 (1) (a) of the Sedition Act," Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said, The Malay Mail Online reported.

Under Malaysia's laws, sedition includes acts that raise discontent or disaffection among people and promote feelings of ill will and hostility between different races or classes of the population.

Being found guilty of sedition can result in a three years prison sentence and a maximum fine of more than $1,500.

The student, whose identity was withheld, said that he accidentally liked the "I love Israel" page. He has deactivated his Facebook account after the "like" caused negative responses from people.

The "like" went viral after a teacher from the student's high school circulated the screen captured image of the post.

Another teacher from the same school commented, "Kita bakor je hahaha [We just burn hahaha]".

Osman Hussain, Penang state's director of education said that the teacher responsible for spreading the post should have dealt with the matter inside the classroom.

"If she does it again, she will be transferred out of Penang," he warned.

"We have to think like Malaysians. We are not like other Muslim countries or other big countries, so we must think differently from others.

"Students must learn to respect one another and teachers must also remember that no matter how bad their students can be, they are still their students," Osman said.

Israel's policies toward the Palestinians are fiercely criticized by Malaysian Muslims.

On Sunday, some Muslim non-governmental organizations launched a month-long campaign to boycott McDonald's, Starbucks, HSBC, Coca-Cola and Nestlé, among other companies, which sell their products in Israel.

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