Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has issued a gag order to all state exco members from commenting on the issue of Jais' raid on Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on Wednesday until they have received the Jais report and “further action” has been taken.
“Once I receive Jais' report on the matter I will meet with the Selangor Sultan to discuss and resolve the matter, and to ensure that such incidents do not recur,” said Khalid (left) in a statement today.
“Until this is done and the matter is resolved, all Selangor exco members are prohibited from making any statements regarding this issue,” he added.
“As mentioned yesterday, we regret that the incident has taken place and is confident that the people of Selangor do not feel that their interests have been overlooked,” said Khalid.
The MB added that good intentions did not justify the raid, that he said “failed to display fairness and wisdom in leadership”.
He called on the people to perpetuate the spirit of harmony, respect and tolerance amongst the various religions in the country. - Malaysiakini, 5/8/2011, MB Khalid issues gag order on church raid
Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) slammed the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) for carrying out a raid on their premises on Aug 3 “without proper authority under the law”.
“We reiterate the fact that Jais and police officers came into Dream Centre without a search warrant,” said senior pastor Daniel Ho in a statement today.
“They intruded into the thanksgiving dinner and interrupted the programme. They took photographs and videos when they came in,” he said, adding the officers continued recording and photographing even after exiting the hall.
“The Jais officers issued several stern warnings to the organisers for refusing to cooperate with their demands.
“In the meantime, many plainclothes personnel rode into the Dream Centre compound with motorbikes and some of them went around the compound,” said Ho.DUMC's statement comes after a week of silence on the raid since 20 to 30 Jais officers raided the DUMC premises without a warrant last Wednesday.
The pastor however remained silent on allegations that the church had been proselytising Muslims.“We respectfully submit that this trespass, search and seizure by Jais and police actions were without proper authority under the law,” said Ho.
Yesterday Jais issued its first official statement on the matter denying that they had “raided” DUMC and stressed that no force was used.
"No force was used by Jais enforcement officers on that night...only after the event attended by 100 attendees was over, did the inspection take place inside the hall," said Jais director Marzuki Hussin (right).
"Reports that Jais conducted a raid, used force and gate-crashed the dinner are all wild accusations," said Marzuki.
Last week Ho had blasted the authorities for trespassing on a HIV/AIDs benefit dinner by non-profit organisation Harapan Komuniti held at DUMC's hall, without producing a warrant or the alleged complaint that Jais said their visit was based on.
Incidentally the same venue also hosted an electoral reform forum organised by the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham), featuring Bersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan and Election Commission deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar. - Malaysiakini, 12/8/2011, Church: Jais acted 'without proper authority'
Umno Youth has today called on the Selangor government to provide a detailed explanation on what transpired when the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) raided the Damansara Utama Methodist Church last week.
Its chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (right) said the movement was unhappy with the Selangor Pakatan government, which was seen as weak in handling the matter.
"Initially, they are seen to be avoiding or claiming responsibility, saying it (Jais) comes under the purview of the ruler. They also made allegations of a federal government conspiracy in such an action, although such claims were unsubstantiated.
"Such perception changed when the menteri besar said the state government should bear the responsibility and answer for its actions. Following this, I urge MB Khalid Ibrahim not to delay in explaining or trying to hide the matter any further. If he cannot explain, it is better he resigns," Khairy said in a statement.
It is frustrating, Khairy noted, that the Selangor government has attempted to delay or was trying to hide the issue from public domain, with no follow-up action.
The Umno Youth chief said for the movement, such a tactic was truly irresponsible because it involved an issue sensitive to both the Muslim and Christian communities, which were watching the matter closely.
Besides the Selangor MB's realisation of this being a sensitive issue, he had chosen to delay and was hiding the matter behind a veil.
"He should himself quickly probe the matter and take the proper action," Khairy said. - Malaysiakini, 10/8/2011, Come clean on church raid or quit, Khairy tells MB
We, from the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) read the news regarding the proposed Faith Crime Act by the deputy education minister yesterday with trepidation.
The proposal came about as a response to Jais' unwarranted raid of Damansara Utama Methodist Church last week.
The raid conducted by Jais was purely based on suspicion that the Methodist Church was involved in an act of proselytisation. The Malaysian Aids Council however reiterated that the dinner was actually a fund-raiser for HIV/AIDS support programmes.
The whole issue boils down to one main issue. The so-called defenders of the faith believed that their action was espoused by the religion of Islam in preventing the believers from apostasy.
This uncivilised act of storming into a sacred place accompanied by the Mafia-like police was endorsed by none others than the insular and xenophobic NGOs like Perkasa and Pembela.
We believe that such an act of storming into a church without any warrant and based on mere suspicion was a travesty of justice and democratic principles. Freedom of assembly is enshrined in Article 10 of our constitution. Any act that violates this freedom is reprehensible.
We realise that this conflict stems from the static and stagnant approach to understanding Islamic law. The codified law in Islamic jurisprudence derived through the exercise of juristic reasoning of the latter years was considered sacred and beyond reproach. Hence the most rigid and literalist interpretations tend to prevail.
The defenders of faith failed to look at ample evidence in the Quran that gives the liberty to the people to freely follow their conviction.
Any individuals are given the right to accept or reject a particular faith based on his personal conviction.
"There shall be no coercion in matters of faith" [Qur'an, 2:256]
“And [thus it is] had thy Sustainer so willed, all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith, all of them: dost thou, then, think that thou couldst compel people to believe” [Qur'an, 10:99]
This message of freedom of belief and the call to religious tolerance is reiterated time and time again in the Quran and through various Prophets. This has been the call of all the Prophets even before Prophet Muhammad. Refer the Quran [7:85-87, 39:39-40, 17:84].
Faith is a personal conviction. The state has no authority to interfere in one's choice of faith. One is answerable to God for the decision he or she makes in her life. Hitherto it is very perturbing that a lawmaker proposed for Faith Crime Act to be enacted by the government.
This act infringes on God given right for us to believe on our free will. No one has the authority to take this right from us. We are answerable to God alone in the life to come. We must ensure that our community embraces this freedom of religion and we will not succumb to any threat to remove this freedom away from us.
The principle of reciprocity is to be upheld since it gives a meaning to the concept of justice. In a modern multiracial society like us, where different faiths lives together, we have to respect the right of an individual to choose and convert to a faith that he or she believes in.
There should not be undue pressure or coercion for a person to believe in a faith he or she has no belief anymore. It would be a real tragedy and disaster when a state started imposing its authority in matters of faith.
The writer is chairman and director of Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF). - Malaysiakini, 10/8/2011, Raid by Jais an 'uncivilised' act
Harapan Komuniti has broken its silence on the multi-racial dinner at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church, which has become the centre of controversy after a raid by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) last week.In a statement today, executive director Raymond Koh said the 'thanksgiving' dinner was attended by "donors, friends and beneficiaries of Harapan Komuniti" before it was raided by 30 Jais and police officers.
“They proceeded into the hall and took photos and videos and even removed pamphlets from the various drawers and cabinets in the said hall, without any permission from us or the landlord of DUMC's premises.He described the non-profit group as one that works with the poor and "downtrodden" and people living with HIV/AIDS.This is the full statement:
Harapan Komuniti is a non-profit organisation, working to bring love, hope, peace and dignity to the needy, downtrodden, children, women and people living with HIV and AIDS. We help people, regardless of race, religion or creed.
Harapan Komuniti is a partner organisation of Malaysian AIDS Council.
On Aug 3, Harapan Komuniti held a thanksgiving/fundraising dinner at DUMC's (Damansara Utama Methodist Church) premises. That dinner was attended by donors, friends and beneficiaries of Harapan Komuniti.
About 120 people, from various backgrounds, attended the dinner and were treated with a meal catered by Muslims, followed by live performance, a 1Malaysia dance, a quiz, and reporting by individuals. Harapan Komuniti also offered a general prayer.
Around 9.30pm, about 30 officers from Jais (Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor) and the police, some were in uniforms and others in plainclothes came into the said premise without any search warrant or permission.
Harapan Komuniti immediately requested the Jais officers if they had any warrant and despite repeated requests, Jais officers refused to hand to us any warrant to search or arrest.
They proceeded into the hall and took photos and videos and even removed pamphlets from the various drawers and cabinets in the said hall, without any permission from us or the landlord of DUMC's premises.
Harapan Komuniti's lawyer Annou Xavier stated that Malaysia should be fortunate to have non-profit organisations such as Harapan Komuniti that gives 'Harapan' or hope to the needy, afflicted, poor, marginalised and yet, on that fateful night, Jais decided to take the opportunity to raid the thanksgiving charity dinner on the assumption that conversion of religion was taking place.
Harapan Komuniti has helped many needy and downtrodden citizens of Malaysia, without regard to race, religion, creed, yet Jais took it upon themselves to disrupt a peaceful and harmonious charity event.
Annou further states that Harapan Komuniti is a '1Malaysia' organisation in its pure sense, in that its board members consist of a Malay, Mohd Rahim Ithnen, a Chinese, Raymond Koh and an Indian, Sri Ram KS Gopal to help all races, religion and creed, and not some parties that simply chant '1Malaysia' merely as a slogan.
He hopes that such an unwarranted raid would not take place in the future that would cause unnecessary anxiety and trauma to peace-loving Malaysians.
Harapan Komuniti - Malaysiakini, 10/8/2011, Harapan Komuniti breaks silence on Jais raid
"Jais' action sets a dangerous precedent which must be stopped and condemned by all peace-loving Malaysians.
"The constitutionally guaranteed and internationally recognised sanctity of all places of worship cannot be compromised, and this unprecedented violation must be investigated and those responsible, appropriately punished.
"We urge the federal government to expeditiously launch a thorough investigation into the fiasco," said its honorary secretary-general Prematilaka KD Serisena.
The raid was carried out based on a tip-off that the dinner organised by Harapan Komuniti at a building owned by the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) had allegedly attempted to proselytise among Muslims present.
The interfaith council is peeved by news reports quoting unnamed Muslims at the event, claiming that they had been asked to convert from Islam, one of many claims that have cropped up since the raid including accusations of distributing Malay-language Bibles to Muslims during the event.
"Such witnesses must be made available to an independent inquiry, which must be instituted immediately, to determine their qualification to bear such witness, to corroborate such evidence and to verify it.
"lf the newspapers in question are found to have published false statements likely, or meant, to incite religious or racial hatred between Malaysians, the authorities must initiate the necessary action to punish them to the full extent provided for in our laws," he said.
The council also called on the government to assure non-Muslim communities that there will not be a repeat of the incident.
'Discuss issue at working committee'
Meanwhile, less than 24 hours after the council's statement, the Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs (ACCIN) reminded its counterpart MCCBCHST to refrain from making statements on interfaith matters and instead to discuss them at the governement's interfaith working committee.
"Since the Working Committee Promoting Understanding and Harmony Between Adherents of various Religions (JKMPKAPA) was established under the cabinet, ACCIN and its members have not made any statements on interfaith matters out of respect for the committee's consensus.
"ACCIN would like to remind the MCCBCHST to respect the committee in future," said the coalition chairperson Sheikh Abdul Halim Abdul Kadir.
The Muslim coalition also called on parties to respect religious sensitivities and to cease all proselytisation activities among Muslims.
"This is consistent with the spirit of interfaith relations and the provisions of the constitution where Islam is the official religion. Other religions can be practiced so long as they respect the official religion and the sensitivities of its followers," he added. - Malaysiakini, 9/8/2011, Jais raid: Federal gov't should intervene, says council