Friday, October 14, 2011

Closure to JAIS-DUMC issue

Finally we see a closure to the issue on the raid conducted by the JAIS officers into DUMC grounds during a thanksgiving dinner held at the latter's premises. We thank God for the decision made by the Sultan of Selangor which provided a definite closure to this unpleasant episode experienced by Pastor Daniel Ho and the congregation of DUMC. 
It cannot be denied that the JAIS-DUMC issue has sparked off a massive uproar in the nation but looking back at the events that had taken place, we see the hand of God at every juncture in this episode. While we cannot speak of the experiences of Pastor Daniel Ho and his congregation but as fellow Christians in this nation, we see the unity among believers of Jesus Christ, coming together to pray for Pastor Daniel Ho and those involved, be it in prayer meetings in churches or small group fellowships and even in the personal prayers of many individuals in their private devotion time. There was a unity in spirit among  Christians from all walks of life and from different Churches in the whole nation, uniting as one and in one spirit, crying out to our Almighty God for wisdom and deliverance.
Not only did this episode see the Churches in Malaysia uniting in prayer, Pastor Daniel Ho was heard saying that he had received encouraging messages and support from Christians from overseas too. So this episode even went global and harnessed the prayer support of Christians abroad.
We believe that God has a greater purpose for our nation of Malaysia and He is uniting the Christians here to band together as one, through various difficulties, so that we will be prepared to fulfill His great Commission as one body - the Universal Church of Jesus Christ. The Churches and the Christians in Malaysia have come out and stood by our fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ in crisis. 
Jesus said,  “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14).  
Let us continue to shine together for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Coming back to the JAIS-DUMC issue, we have collected some related articles for your reading taken from The Star Online.


Monday October 10, 2011 

DUMC issue: S'gor Sultan rules no action against parties involved

SHAH ALAM: The Sultan of Selangor has ruled that no group should be prosecuted over a controversial incident on Aug 3 where the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) conducted a search on a thanksgiving dinner event held at the Dream Centre Complex belonging to the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC).
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah also commanded that Jais provide counselling to the Muslims who were present during the dinner which was organised by a non-governmental organisation.
"After carefully deliberating the report by Jais and after obtaining advice from religious authorities and legal experts, we are in agreement that there would be no prosecution against any parties.
"Even so, we command that Jais provide counselling to Muslims who were involved in the said dinner, to restore their belief and faith in the religion of Islam," he said.
Following is the full text of the Sultan's statement Monday:
We, the Head of the Religion of Islam in the State of Selangor, take great concern over the actions by the Enforcement Division of the Selangor Department of the Religion of Islam (Jais) which carried out a search at the Thanksgiving Dinner event which was held at Hall 3, Dream Centre Complex, Section 13, Petaling Jaya on Aug 3, 2011.
We hope that the people of Selangor, regardless of race and religion, do not misconstrue and dispute the actions of Jais before knowing exactly the true facts of the actions taken.
As the State Department responsible for the enforcement of Islamic Laws in the State, Jais has the heavy task of ensuring that the Religion of Islam in Selangor is always protected and given prestige, in line with its position as the Religion of the State of Selangor under Article XLVII of the Laws of the Constitution of Selangor, 1959, as well as the religion of the Federation under Clause (1) Article 3 of the Federal Constitution.
Jais has submitted to Us the full report of the search carried out at the Dream Centre Complex, Section 13, Petaling Jaya as well as the subsequent actions taken by Jais. We have thoroughly read in detail the said report and We are satisfied that the actions of Jais were correct and did not breach any laws enforceable in Selangor.
The actions of Jais are in line with the jurisdiction provided under Syariah Criminal Procedure (State of Selangor) Enactment, 2003, Syariah Criminal (State of Selangor) Enactment, 1995 and Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment, 1988.
The Religion of Islam as practiced in Selangor is one of tolerance. Muslims are always encouraged to respect the believers of other religions. However, persons or parties cannot take the opportunity to spread other religions to Muslims. This is in line with Clause (1) and (4) Article 11 of the Federal Constitution and Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment, 1988, which prohibits the spread of other religions to Muslims.
Article XLVII of the Laws of the Constitution of Selangor 1959, Clause (1) Article 3 and Clause (1) Article 11 of the Federal Constitution have given the freedom to believers of other religions to practice their beliefs in peace and harmony. This freedom has been practised in harmony in this State. We wish that this harmony, which has existed for a long time, will continue to exist. Protect your rights and religion and do not attempt to subvert the belief and faith of Muslims.
Based on the investigations by Jais, there is evidence that there were attempts to subvert the faith and belief of Muslims but that the evidence obtained would be insufficient for further legal actions to be taken. Therefore, after carefully deliberating the report by Jais and after obtaining advice from religious authorities and legal experts, We are in agreement that there would be no prosecution against any parties.
Even so, We command that Jais provide counselling to Muslims who were involved in the said dinner, to restore their belief and faith in the Religion of Islam. We also command Jais to carry out preaching to Muslims in a more regular and organised manner so that their belief and faith towards Islam is protected and enhanced.
We hope that after this, any and all activities being carried out or which are going to be carried out for the purposes of spreading other religions to Muslims in Selangor must be ceased immediately and no further activities or anything similar to them are carried out in the future.
We, the Head of the Religion of Islam in the State of Selangor, are gravely concerned and extremely offended by the attempts of certain parties to weaken the faith and belief of Muslims in the State of Selangor. We command that Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (Mais) and Jais always conduct thorough observations and to take necessary actions without hesitation in line with the jurisdiction allowed under the law.
We also wish to take this opportunity to thank all parties who were concerned with this issue and to those who have given their cooperation and undivided support to Jais.
H.R.H. Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj
The Sultan of Selangor

Wednesday October 12, 2011
PETALING JAYA: The Damansara Utama Methodist Church welcomes the statement by the Sultan of Selangor that no one would be charged in connection with a Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) search at the church two months ago.
Senior pastor Dr Daniel Ho stressed that activities organised by DUMC were meant to serve the community and welfare of Malaysians regardless of race, creed or religion.
“We sincerely ask that all religious communities and places of worship be treated with the utmost respect and not be intruded upon,” he said.
Dr Ho said the church had worked within the boundaries of law and public order.
“We call on all Malaysians to continue to live in peace, tolerance and harmony. We also call on all Christians to continue to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God,” he said.
Jais carried out the search during a function, organised by non-governmental organisation Harapan Komuniti, at the Dream Centre Complex belonging to DUMC on Aug 3 following a tip-off about an alleged attempt to proselytise Muslims at the dinner.
On Monday, the Sultan ruled that no group would be prosecuted over the search.
Bar Council chairman Lim Chee Wee said that Malaysians must respect the Federal Constitution which provides for states to control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among Muslims.
However, he voiced concern over the Non-Muslim Enactment which gave wide powers to the relevant officers to arrest, even without warrant, on suspicion that a person has committed an offence.
“The exercise of such powers can be subject to abuse and can constitute a restriction of Malaysians' rights of freedom of assembly and association,” he said.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism president Tan Hoe Chieow said it accepted the Sultan's ruling that no group should be prosecuted and that non-Muslims were free to protect their rights and religions.
He said that Jais has no jurisdiction over non-Muslims and due to the sensitivity and sanctity of worship places, they must first lodge a police report if there were cases of proselytising, and the police must obtain a search warrant from the courts to enter religious places of worship.

Tuesday October 11, 2011
PETALING JAYA: The Council of Churches Malaysia has accepted the Sultan of Selangor's ruling that no group should be prosecuted over a controversial church search in August.
Its general-secretary Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri said the council took the view that Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had settled the matter.
“We consider the Sultan's statements a closure of the DUMC (Damansara Utama Methodist Church) case,” he said yesterday.
He was commenting on the search conducted by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) during a dinner held at the DUMC Dream Centre on Aug 3.
“In the interests of peace, we hope that people will not speculate about or aggravate the situation further,” he said.
Meanwhile, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said a committee would be set up by the state government to study ways to strengthen the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department's (Jais) standard operating procedures.
He said in a statement that the special committee would be headed by legal and religious experts.
Khalid added that Jais should strengthen its administration when conducting religious checks, adding: “This issue only shows that Jais has space for improvement.”
State PAS deputy commissioner Khalid Samad described the Sultan's command to not prosecute any party and to provide counselling to Muslims present at the dinner as a good way to restore belief in Islam.
“Taking legal action and applying force to change one's mindset, especially in religious matters will not work,” he added.
“An individual's belief should not be handled with force. It should be handled in a more delicate manner. Hence, the Sultan's announcement to provide counselling is the best way in restoring belief in Islam.”
Selangor religious affairs committee chairman Datuk Dr Hasan Mohamed Ali said they would use hi-tech gadgets to prove their cases in the court.
“I will make sure that a high-performance management system and sophisticated equipment are used to defend every case,'' he said.
He said the ruling was an indication that the Sultan wanted both Jais and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council to act “professionally”.
Meanwhile, Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the Sultan, in his royal wisdom, had defused the situation.
“By further ensuring no parties will be prosecuted will allow the matter to be put to rest,” he said.
What was important now was for Jais and other agencies to review their practices on raids especially when it involved a non-Muslim place of worship, Dr Koh said.

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