Unprecedented Raid on a Church by Islamic Officials/Police

The unprecedented police/Islamic official (JAIS) raid on a church has caused alarm among Malaysians who have been assured only recently by the Prime Minister that he wants Malaysians to progress from tolerance to mutual acceptance. Speculation is rife as to why the raid took place at all – so soon after what was perceived to be an opportunistic visit to the Pope at Vatican by the Prime Minister.Two concerns must first be registered:

First, the police brazenly violated the limits of their authority when they barged into DUMC premises without a warrant. Perhaps in their minds no search warrant is needed to scrounge around rubbish bins. If only that was all they did (and even this would require a search warrant) – they were blatantly intimidating the guests at the dinner.

Second, the religious officials from the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) exploited the blunt tool of the state (police) to muscle their way into the church premises and  arrogantly flaunted their power to harass the dinner guests. They claimed to be acting in response to a complaint (even though they failed to produce the alleged complaint letter). But, even if there were such a complaint, they should have contacted the leaders of the church and the matters would have been resolved amicably. However, they chose the path of offense and raided the church. Perhaps these officials still live in medieval times when Islamic officials may abuse non-Muslim subjects (the inferior dhimmis) at their whims and fancies. At the least, one has to judge these officials as having violated human decency when they wantonly insulted the Christian community.

Of course, nothing is strictly religious in Malaysia. It is common knowledge that Muslim politicians often cynically exploit Islamic institutions for their political ends. There are speculations about the real agenda of the political puppet masters behind this raid. Could the raid be one of the maneuvers of the power struggle within UMNO between the PM and his challengers? There can only be tantalizing answers.

Question 1: Who authorized the raid?
If  it was PM Najib: So much for his recent statement that Malaysians must move from tolerance to mutual respect.
If not PM Najib: then his challengers have seized an opportunity to embarrass him.
Caution: But then it can also be the usual good cop/bad cop sandiwara/drama by the government.

Regardless of the real truth, we can only judged the present government by its actions (and not just its soothing words). In this regard, we hold the present government (PM +and his challengers) culpable of an offensive action.

Question 2: What is the real agenda of the authorities?
Relations between the government and the Christian community have been going downhill – following a serious of contentious issues that include the Allah Controversy, seizure of the Al-kitab, court disputes over some conversions etc. Naturally, these harassment have heightened the social-political consciousness/political activism among Christians. Perhaps some government officials see it fitting to initiate a high profile raid on a church to remind Christians to remain compliant and stay in the good books of the ruling political masters of the land.

Finally, given the paranoia that is pervasive among Islamic officials, it must have been galling for them to see some Muslims attending an official function in a church (even though it was organized as a 1Malaysia event). Judging by the frequent warnings from JAIS, it would seem that there are many weak Muslims who are easily influenced by Christians and would convert out of Islam no sooner than one says, “Peace be…” Weak and unstable followers must be guarded (or rather, controlled) and the audacious Christians put in their place.

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Multi-racial dinner at church disrupted by Jais
Malaysiakini 4 Aug 2011 LINK
Officers from the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) last night trespassed into a church compound in Petaling Jaya and disrupted a multiracial thanksgiving dinner.

According to Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) senior pastor Daniel Ho, a group of between 20 to 30 Jais and police officers, uniformed and plainclothes, entered the premises without a warrant.

“They entered the hall where the dinner was taking place, and started taking videos and photographs,” said Ho in a statement today.

“When asked by the organisers why they were there, a Jais (official) replied that they received a complaint, but was unable to produce a copy (of the complaint) when asked,” he added.

Ho claimed that Jais officers took down details of the Muslim guests before leaving the premises with the police.

According to him, the dinner was held by non-profit organisation Harapan Komuniti at the Dream Centre, an activity complex within the DUMC compound.

The occasion was to commemorate the NGO’s efforts on numerous community projects, including with women and children, and victims of HIV/AIDS and natural disasters.

“Harapan Komuniti is a community-based NGO that brings love, hope and peace to the poor, needy and marginalised, regardless of race, language, religion or status.

“The dinner was a multiracial celebratory gathering of volunteers, leaders, supporters and members of the community who have benefited from the NGO’s work,” Ho explained.

DUMC and Community Excel Services, which had rented Dream Center, said they were highly disappointed with the actions of Jais and police officers who had entered and searched a private property without a warrant.

“They have subjected all guests at the Thanksgiving Dinner to undue harassment,” said Ho, stressing the dinner’s aim of appreciating and commemorating Harapan Komuniti’s efforts to help Malaysians of all walks of life.”

Ho called on all Malaysians not to condone this breach of freedom of assembly and association as provided by Article 10 of the federal constitution, “but to live in mutual trust and love, to promote peace, harmony and unity in the true spirit of 1Malaysia”.

According to DUMC members who posted about the incident on micro-blogging website Twitter, Jais officers ransacked the garbage bins of the church.

Last Friday, Dream Centre 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.

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Raided church wants action against Jais for trespass, harassment
By Debra Chong 4 Aug 2011
MalaysiaInsider LINK

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — The Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) has called on all Malaysians to lend support and object to what it called the authorities’ breach of their constitutional right to assemble freely, after it was raided by Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) officials and the police last night.

In a statement today, DUMC’s senior pastor Daniel Ho related how a group of 20 to 30 of Selangor’s religious police had entered its rented premises at the Dream Centre in Petaling Jaya late last night without a warrant and intimidated invited guests, including Muslims, at its private dinner celebration.

“They have subjected all guests at the Thanksgiving Dinner to undue harassment,” he said, noting that not all the enforcement group were in uniform and had failed to produce a copy of the complaint when asked for the reason for the raid.

Ho stressed that the dinner was non-religious in nature but held to celebrate the work of non-profit organisation Harapan Komuniti in helping women, children, HIV/AIDS sufferers and victims of natural disasters.

“We call on all Malaysians not to condone this breach of freedom of assembly and association as provided by provided Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, but to live in mutual trust and love, to promote peace, harmony and unity in the true spirit of 1 Malaysia,” he said.

The pastor told The Malaysian Insider last night that the thanksgiving dinner organised by Harapan Komuniti was attended by between 100 and 120 guests of all races.

“This is a dinner for people to come in the 1 Malaysia spirit,” Ho said, adding they were mainly Christian although he admitted there were “there were about 15 or so Malays.”

Last night’s raid in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state came after Malaysia sealed formal ties with the Vatican last month, seen as a high point in religious relations where Muslims are the majority.

Religious tensions heightened two years ago when the Home Ministry barred Christians from referring to their god as “Allah” in a Catholic newspaper.

In 2009, the High Court allowed the church to use the word, but the case is pending a Home Ministry appeal of the decision.

Several churches across the country fell victim to arson attempts in January last year following the ruling.

Christians, who form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million-strong population, were further outraged when the Home Ministry seized 35,100 Malay-language bibles.

The bibles were later released ahead of the Sarawak state election in April on condition that copies in Peninsular Malaysia be marked with a cross and the words “Christian publication”.

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2 Responses to “Unprecedented Raid on a Church by Islamic Officials/Police”

  1. Abel Says:

    One gets the idea it’s not just Palestinians who’re in a huge ‘prison’ in Israel, as reported by some; Muslims in Malaysia are in a huge prison too. The 15 who attended the dinner at DUMC represent those who might be trying to escape so must be hunted down and brought back immediately. And maybe DUMC or whoever was behind this to be punished. Yes? Some might even be plotting for this. Malays are treated like children who can’t even decide for themselves. My heart goes out to them.

  2. Ong Geok Ming Says:

    No matter what anybody does to us, we can always choose what we want to believe in our hearts. No one can really take away that liberty from us. God will make sure each of us has that free will. No prison bar can bar us from God’s love for us!!!!!

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