Bar Forum Disrupted with ‘Police Assistance’

Why it is always the case that Muslims are the ones who are offended and threaten violence? What is there to worry about if their religious policies are just? Why is it that people cannot discuss their legitimate grievances in public? If Muslims have God’s truth on their side then all the more it should be the case that their truth claims be displayed and discussed amicably in public. He who has God’s truth and is just in his dealings with fellowmen has nothing to be defensive about.

Methink yonder lady/gentleman protests too much!

I thought it would have been more natural for the police to arrest the unruly and threatening demonstrators. Instead, they accompanied/allowed the protesters to enter the Bar Forum to demand an end to the meeting. Sigh!

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Bar forum on conversions stopped after one hour
By : Alang Bendahara New Sunday Times 10 Aug 2008 LINK

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council public forum on conversion to Islam on its premises here yesterday was stopped after about an hour on the advice of the police.
Police had advised the organiser to do so in view of the danger posed by protesters against the forum participants, Dang Wangi district police chief Assistant Commissioner Zul-karnain Abd Rahman said.

“We have the authority to tell them that (at any event) if there is a threat towards the public.”

Zulkarnain said council members had abided by the police advice.

He said police found two bottles of unknown substances on the steps in front of the building in Leboh Pasar Besar, which were taken away by a bomb disposal unit for examination.
Hundreds of representatives and members of 29 Muslim non-governmental organisations and political parties had gathered in stages in front of the council’s building from 8am.

Some 100 policemen were deployed and Federal Reserve Unit personnel had formed two lines in front of the building entrance to block the crowd.

The crowd carried banners written with words such as “Don’t Challenge Islam” and shouted calls through hailers towards the building, demanding a stop to the forum.

Among the protesters were Peninsular Malay Students Federation vice-president Jais Abdul Kari, Muslim Consumers Association of Mal-aysia complaint officer Imran Yusof, Pas Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub, who is also Kubang Kerian member of parliament, Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam (Pembela) exco member Zulkifli Noordin, who is also Kulim Bandar Baharu MP, and Pekida Malaysia supreme council member Mohd Syahrir Abdul Aziz.

At 9.30am, after a meeting with Zulkarnain, Zulkifli addressed the crowd and told them that the Dang Wangi police chief had got the council to call off the forum at 10am.

Zulkifli and several of the protesting leaders then went into the building and appeared again at 10.30am.

By 10.40am, the crowd had cleared the area, giving a chance to the forum members to leave the building without police escort.

Later, Zulkifli said although he was satisfied that the target to stop the forum was achieved, the protesting leaders would pursue a formal apology from the council.

“We are also issuing it a warning not to hold such a public forum again.”

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Najib: Forum disruption expected
Maria J. Dass and Husna Yusop Sun2 Surf 10 Aug 2008 LINK

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 10, 2008): Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said today the disruption of the Bar Council’s open forum on conversion to Islam was “expected” and blamed the council for being “stubborn” in not listening to advice from the authorities.

Commenting on Saturday’s forum which had to be ended prematurely due to a noisy protest by about 500 people outside the venue in Lebuh Pasar Besar here, Najib said: “We expected this to happen and we had already told them that holding an open forum on this issue would invoke this sort of reaction from some groups, but they were stubborn.”

“We live in a multiracial country and we have been able to live peacefully so far because we have been tolerant, respectful of the sensitivities of all races and by adhering to the tenets of the Federal Constitution.

“If we dispute these basic ideals, it will definitely evoke reaction from other groups. So if we were to upset this, it will evoke disagreement which can affect our peace and harmony,” he said, after opening the Bumiputera Real Estate Convention and Exhibition 2008.

Meanwhile, Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the forum would not have been a big hoo-ha had the title of the discussion been more “Muslim-friendly”.

She said the lawyers were trying to find a solution for family members affected by the conversion of one family member to Islam due to the conflicts relating to jurisdiction between the syariah and civil courts.

“Apart from legal issues, we must focus on humanitarian issues. It is important that we realise that R. Subashini, T. Saravanan and S. Shamala are real people. So, these are humanitarian issues we are dealing with,” she said at the opening of the forum on Saturday.

The forum, titled “Conversion to Islam: Article 121(1a) of the Federal Constitution: Subashini and Shamala Revisited,” attended by about 200 participants including the media, was originally scheduled to take place from 8.30am to 1pm.

Demonstrators gathered in front of the Bar Council secretariat building chanted Allahu Akbar, carrying placards and banners and shouted for it to stop. They were representatives of Muslim NGOs and political parties, including the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM), Peninsular Malay Students Federation (GPMS), Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam (Pembela), Malaysian Islamic Propagation and Welfare Organisation (Pekida), Alumni of Umno Club Overseas Students, PAS Youth and Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Due to the growing tension, the police advised the organisers to stop the forum, which had started at 8.40am, earlier than scheduled and Ambiga announced that the forum would wrap up at 10am.

However, 25 minutes later, a group of protestors led by GPMS vice-president Jais Abdul Karim and Pembela member Zulkifli Noordin, who is also PKR Kulim-Bandar Baru MP, accompanied by the police, marched into the auditorium on the 1st floor of the building where the forum was held.

At that time, former Suhakam commissioner Dr Mehrun Siraj was giving her views but was told off rudely by one of those in the group, who said he represented Umno, that she was conspiring with the un-Islamic goings-on in the forum.

When the group became vociferous, Ambiga declared the forum closed at 10am.

Earlier, the forum heard eyewitness accounts from two women whose lives were affected by the conversion of their fathers to Islam and a spontaneous sharing from a German woman who was a Muslim convert.

The first was a young Chinese woman whose father embraced Islam to marry an Iranian Muslim. The second was an older Indian woman, a devout Christian, whose father married a Malay Muslim and the family underwent conflict with religious authorities when her father died.

The German married a Malaysian Malay in England and was converted to Islam by his family when they moved here, only to be divorced and abandoned after 10 years. Her second marriage to a Malay ended in divorce after six years and after that she was a single mother raising three sons without any help from her ex-husbands.

The second session involved a panel discussion of the custody battle between Subashini and former husband Saravanan or Mohd Shafi Saravanan Abdullah; and Shamala and former husband Dr Jeyaganesh who converted one of their sons to Islam.

The panel consisted of lawyers Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdullah (counsel for Mohd Shafi), K. Shanmuga (for Subashini) and Ravi Nekoo (for Shamala).

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Police begin probe into protest

New Straits Times 12 Aug 2008 LINK

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have begun investigations into Saturday’s gathering at the Bar Council building by a large group of Muslims protesting against the forum on conversion to Islam.
Dang Wangi police chief Assistant Commissioner Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman confirmed investigation papers had been opened. There have been no arrests.

Police also found two bottles of unknown substances on the steps in front of the Bar Council building in Leboh Pasar Besar, which were taken away by a bomb disposal unit.

Hundreds of representatives and members of 29 Muslim non-governmental organisations and political parties had gathered in stages in front of the council’s building from 8am.

Some of them carried banners with the words “Don’t Challenge Islam” and demanded that the forum at the Bar Council’s auditorium be stopped.
About 100 policemen were deployed to control the crowd.

Among the protesters were Peninsular Malay Students’ Federation vice-president Jais Abdul Kari, Muslim Consumers Association of Mal-aysia complaints officer Imran Yusof, Pas Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub, who is also Kubang Kerian member of parliament, Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam (Pembela) exco member Zulkifli Noordin, who is also Kulim- Bandar Baharu MP, and Pekida Malaysia supreme council member Mohd Syahrir Abdul Aziz.

They left after the forum was cut short after an hour.

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2 Responses to “Bar Forum Disrupted with ‘Police Assistance’”

  1. Musisructuaks Says:

    I am here at a forum newcomer. Until I read and deal with the forum.
    Let’s learn!

  2. trotfesee Says:

    This look interesting,so far.
    If it’s not just all bots here, let me know. I’m looking to network
    Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.

    Peace,

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