Friday, January 3, 2014

Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) going overboard (power crazy)

S’wak clergy: Why take what’s meant for us?

Winston Way | January 3, 2014
The Association of Churches in Sarawak has described the raid and actions of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) as "tidak beradat:.
KUCHING: The raid and seizure of Al-Kitabs (Malay Bibles) meant for Sarawak and Sabah by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) in Selangor has angered the clergy here.
The Association of Churches of Sarawak (ACS) today said that Jais had no right to do this and that “it was against the federal constitution”.
ACS committee member Pastor Lawrence Banyi said: “The freedom to practice one’s religion is within the Federal Constitution.
“This (the Jais actions) is extremely unfair, and against our (Christians) constitutional rights.”
Yesterday, Jais raided the Bible Society of Malaysia and the society’s chairman Lee Min Choon, general-secretary Simon Wong and office manager Sinclair Wong were taken to the Damansara Utama police station.
Lee and Simon were subsequently released after Sinclair posted an oral bail.
In the raid Jais took away 16 boxes of materials containing 320 Malay Bibles (Al-Kitab) and the Iban language Bibles (Bup Kudus) which were mostly acquired from Indonesia, and meant for Christians in Sabah and Sarawak.
Lawrence said the Bibles meant for Sarawak should not have been seized.
He said the situation in Sarawak was different from peninsular Malaysia and in Selangor.
In Sarawak Christians are a majority.
“Over there, things might not be the same as here. They (Jais) must have thought they were the majority , so they could have been thinking they got more rights.
“Still, constitutionally, this (the raid and confiscation of Bibles) should not have happened.
“We practice a freedom of religion in Malaysia but it seems that not all religion, except Islam are free in practicing their faiths.
“It’s not that we do not want to acknowledge Islam as the official religion of Malaysia, but other religions must have their respective freedom to practice their faith”, he said.
Jais action ‘tidak beradat’
Jais new director Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad said last week it would soon issue letters to all churches in Selangor to remind them to obey a 1988 state enactment banning non-Muslims from using the word “Allah”.
The enactment, the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation among Muslims) Enactment 1988, passed by the then Barisan Nasional state government, prohibits non-Muslims in Selangor from using 35 Arabic words and phrases in their faith, including ‘Allah’, ‘Nabi’ (prophet), ‘Injil’ (gospel) and ‘Insyaallah’ (God willing).
Lee had alleged that Jais was inconsiderate during the raid. He said Jais conducted the raid without a warrant. He said the officials were looking for materials containing the word ‘Allah’.
Another ACS member Pastor Denny Nibor warned that Jais’ action would only bring more dissatisfaction among the Christians in Sarawak, and Malaysia generally.
“They (Jais) should not have done that. What they did can be considered ‘tidak beradat’ (bad-mannered) as how we say it here in Sarawak. It should not have happened in a multiracial and multi-religious country like Malaysia.

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