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Jais raids Bible Society, Malay bibles seized

 | January 2, 2014

The Selangor Islamic Religious department officials carted away more than 320 copies of the Alkitab and 10 copies of the Iban language bible.

FULL REPORT

PETALING JAYA: The Selangor Islamic Religious department (Jais) raided the Bible Society of Malaysia at 1.30pm and society chairman Lee Min Choon and general-secretary Simon Wong and office manager Sinclair Wong were taken to the Damansara Utama police station.

The trio are now waiting for the police to confirm the charges against them.
They confiscated 16 boxes of materials containing 320 Malay Bibles (Al-Kitab) and Iban language Bibles (Bup Kudus) which were largely purchased from Indonesia, cantering for Sabah and Sarawak Christians.

The new director of Jais 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 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 “Insya’Allah” (God willing). – January 2, 2014.

Bible Society of Malaysia chairman Lee Min Choon claimed that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) were harsh and conducted a raid without a warrant .

“We are waiting to be bailed out. A total of 16 Jais officers and two police constables came to our office at 1.30pm.  They were harsh in their conduct and only showed us their identification cards.

“They did not even produce a warrant,” said Lee who was met at Damansara Police Station this afternoon along with the society’s general secretary Reverand Simon Wong and office manager Sinclair Wong.

Lee told reporters that JAIS officials were looking for materials containing the word ‘Allah’.

Lee said JAIS officials told him that they were acting in accordance with the  Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation among Muslims) Enactment 1988.

The enactment prohibits non-Muslims in Selangor from using 35 Arabic words and phrases in their faith, including “Allah”, “Nabi” (prophet), “Injil” (gospel) and “Insya’Allah” (God willing).

He also said that JAIS called him to assist them in their investigations next Friday to which he agreed.

Lee and Simon was subsequently released after Sinclair posted an oral bail.

“Whether we are to be charged or not we do not know,” Lee added.

On that note he also called for the “Christian community to be calm and Muslims to be understanding”.

He also admitted that the raid would ignite further “sparks over the Allah controversy”.

DAP representatives also arrived at the Damansara police station, a short while later.

PJ Utara MP Tony Pua told the press that he would be raising the issue in Parliament at its next sitting in March..

“It is a clear trespass against freedom of religion. Every religion has the right to be managed on its own.  Jais should apologise for the raid,” he said.

“This (raid) action was done by a group of overzealous and misguided group of people who failed to respect the rights of the others,” he added.

Stampin MP Julian Tan from Sarawak told the press that Sarawakians were watching over these developments.

“Over forty percent of Sarawakians are Christians and we are observing these developments. It is against (nurturing) harmony among the people,” he said.

Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming admitted having two copies of the Al-Kitab. I hope JAIS won’t raid my home and the houses of other Christians who have an Al-Kitab.

He added reporters that there were 100,000 Al-Kitab users from East Malaysia in Klang Valley and Johor Bahru and another 50,000 in Penang.

Damansara Utama assemblywoman Yeo Bee Yin meanwhile said that there there is a pressing need to remove the exclusivity of the Allah term if Malaysians were to move forward.


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