Six Malaysian Muslims have been charged with sedition for parading a severed cow’s head to protest against the planned construction of a Hindu temple. The cow is the holiest animal in Hinduism.

The men were charged on Wednesday in a district court in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor state, where they had marched with the cow head and stomped on it Aug. 28. They are against the state government’s plan to build a temple in their largely Muslim neighbourhood.

Sedition is punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine. The six men were freed on bail pending trial.

Their protest offended Hindus and stoked tensions among Malaysia’s main ethnic groups -- the Malay Muslim majority and Chinese and Indian minorities.

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