According to Islamic law, dhimmis — primarily Jews and Christians under the “protection” of the Islamic state — are “forbidden to openly display wine or pork, (A: to ring church bells or display crosses,) recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals and feastdays” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o11.5(6)). But in Malaysia, they can make a public display as long as they get a police permit. That’s what makes Malaysia so moderate!
And it makes sense, after all. You know how Christmas carollers are notorious for getting stirred up by the words of the carols, rampaging and destroying non-Christian businesses.
Sharia Alert from modern, moderate Malaysia: “”˜Tis the season to be jolly, with a police permit,” by Debra Chong for the Malaysian Insider, December 9 (thanks to all who sent this in):
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 “” Around this time for the past 30 years, Catholic church groups nationwide will bring out their song sheets, check their musical instruments and tune their voices to sing in harmony as they ready to go a-carolling.
And get a police permit.
Because carolling is done in public and requires moving from one spot to another.
As Christmas approaches, parish priests or their church youth leaders seek a police permit to effectively visit their fellow church members and belt out “Joy to the World”, “Silent Night, Holy Night” and even “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.
For what is essentially a simple gathering to get into the spirit of the season and celebrate the birthday of their religion”s founder, carolling organisers are required to submit their full names as per their MyKad, identity card numbers, the details of their total participants, the dates, time and general areas of their visits.
Parish priests in Klang were alarmed to receive a memo from a district police officer this past week telling them to send in a list detailing the full names and contact information of the home owners they planned to visit this carolling season.
They are also required to inform Bukit Aman and the National Security Council, said an alarmed Rev Father Michael Chua, who told The Malaysian Insider he received the news from the parish priests of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Church of the Holy Redeemer earlier this week.
The irregular condition imposed by the district police officer is casting the spotlight on a recently-passed law to provide for peaceful assemblies that many groups, including the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, the Malaysian Bar and various religious groups, say is more restrictive and regressive then the existing law it is to replace.
“Normally, we get the permits to go carolling without too many conditions imposed,” said Rev Father Lawrence Andrew, who heads the Church of St Anne near Port Klang.
“This is something new. It seems they are now trying to regulate worship,” he added, voice tinged with concern.
Lawrence felt the police were trying to regulate worship by imposing the new carolling conditions. He said he had yet to apply for a permit and would not wait for the outcome of the two churches” application before deciding his next move.
Rev Thomas Phillips, who leads the Mar Thoma church here and whose followers of the Syrian branch of Christianity also apply for carolling permits yearly, said he would be alarmed if the police imposed such conditions on him.
“Why do they want to know the details of all the heads of households for? That”s so tedious,” he said, adding that the carolling groups have moved around from the city to Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam and Klang, visiting three to four houses in the areas on average per day without issue….
Religious groups all over the country have raised a furore after the Dewan Rakyat passed the controversial Peaceful Assembly Bill, which bans “assemblies in motion” otherwise known as street demonstrations, two weeks ago….
Former Catholic church youth leaders said the police usually advise carollers to wrap up their visits by midnight so as not to disturb the neighbours who do not profess their faith, and to make sure there are no Muslims onboard their chartered buses in granting the permits.
Sometimes, the police impose on carollers a 2km distance between the house they will be performing and the neighbourhood mosque or surau, which the ex-youth leaders say is nearly impossible to adhere to in a country where over 60 per cent of the population is Muslim….