No one on either side of the issue will be prosecuted (for now), but the Muslims present at the function that was raided — no, “inspected” — will still have to attend counseling to “restore their faith.”
An update on this story, though we certainly haven’t heard the last of it. Malaysia’s Islamic supremacists will try to get all the mileage they can out of it. “Christians in Malaysia Accept Ruling on Church Raid,” from Compass Direct News, November 9:
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, November 9 (CDN) “” Following controversy over a raid on a church event in which Muslims were present, Christian leaders in Malaysia welcomed a sultan’s pronouncement that neither the Christians nor the state officers who disrupted the meeting would be prosecuted.
A number of local commentators, however, have continued to express concern over the Aug. 3 raid by the officers of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS).
The sultan of the state of Selangor, Sharafuddin Idris Shah, issued a statement on Oct. 11 saying the Muslim religious officers did not breach any state laws in the raid on Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC). The sultan came to the conclusion after considering a report prepared by JAIS.
While church leaders welcomed the sultan’s wish for religious harmony and his decree that there will be no prosecution against any parties involved, Dr. Ng Kam Weng, research director at Kairos Research Centre, argued that the powers granted by the state enactments “cannot be taken as license” for Muslim religious authorities to intrude or trespass onto the premises of a church.
Furthermore, Ng said, enforcement must be consistent with fundamental civil liberties and provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act 593) relating to search and arrest. In Malaysia, two sets of laws exist — civil laws that govern all citizens, and Islamic laws that apply to Muslims only in matters of religion, family, property and inheritance.
In the raid, between 20 to 30 JAIS officers and police entered the Dream Centre, a facility rented by DUMC, without a search warrant at 10 p.m. Christians were holding a dinner in gratitude for the efforts of Harapan Komuniti (HK), a community-based Non-Governmental Organization that aids women and children and victims of HIV/AIDS and natural disasters. Present at the dinner were volunteers, leaders, supporters and members of the community who have benefitted from the HK”s work.
Upon entering the premises, JAIS religious officers took videos and photographs. When the dinner organizers asked JAIS officers for the reason for their raid, they said they had received a complaint but were unable to produce a copy when asked for one. The Muslim religious officers also took down details of the Muslim guests before leaving, and the 12 were later asked to give statements at the JAIS office.
The sultan’s ruling asserted that, based on investigations by JAIS, there were attempts made to “subvert the faith and belief of Muslims,” though there was insufficient evidence for legal action to be taken against the perpetrators.
In a country where propagating one’s faith to Muslims is prohibited, Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing questioned the accusation that the church meeting was used to steer Muslims from their religion, as the sultan ruled there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the Christians.
“If there is not enough evidence, there ought to be no imputation of wrongdoing,” the Roman Catholic bishop said.
The sultan commanded JAIS to provide counseling to the 12 Muslims present at the dinner in order to restore their faith and belief in Islam. He also expressed hope that all activities to spread other religions to Muslims in the state should cease immediately.….