PAS REAL TARGET OF JAIS’ RAID: DUMC DISPENSABLE COLLATERAL DAMAGEBy nkw
PAS REAL TARGET OF JAIS’ RAID: DUMC DISPENSABLE COLLATERAL DAMAGE
The war drums beat ominously. The platoons are quickly mobilized for attack. The commanders are confident that their target will be hit and destroyed given numerous artillery salvos. I am not talking about shock and awe in the Iraq war. I am talking about how JAIS and UMNO activists have carefully orchestrated their recent attacks on the Malaysian church after their illegal raid of DUMC.
It is easy to be confused, especially when JAIS and UMNO activists deliberately cloud the issues with wild claims, hoping that their illegal transgression of a church will be overlooked and the innocent victim (DUMC) will somehow appear guilty, if accused repeatedly. It does not matter that till now JAIS has failed to produce any credible evidence to support the raid. JAIS seems to operate on the basis that people will end up believing lies so long as they are repeated enough in the media.
AN UNDENIABLE VIOLATION OF A HOLY PLACE
But how does one sift out the truth from the lies? First we stress the undeniable facts:
A group of 20-30 members from JAIS and the police raided the premises of DUMC where there was a thanksgiving dinner held by Harapan Community in appreciation of people who have supported their community service. This raid was undeniably an illegal act since the officials were unable to produce a search warrant.
In effect, the JAIS violated the sanctity of the house of God. The raid is not only illegal; it is an almost unforgivable sin. Any Muslim should know this and would shrink in horror and be tempted to retaliate should officials from another religion violate their mosques.
JAIS initially defended the raid by claiming that they are empowered to act on grounds of suspicious activities. But even if we go by the requirements of the Penal Code, such a raid must be backed by reasonable suspicion, that is, there must be prima facie evidence to justify the raid. Till today, JAIS has failed to offer the slightest modicum of evidence that can be accepted as ‘reasonable suspicion’, much less be accepted as prima facie evidence.
JAIS backpedaled from its claim to have the authority to raid DUMC and now describes its act as an ‘inspection’ – a definite sign that it realizes (but not admitting publicly) that the raid was illegal.
BUT what gives JAIS the authority to inspect DUMC or any church for that matter? The supreme law of the land, the Federal Constitution specifies that Shariah has no jurisdiction over non- Muslims. JAIS officials accompanied by the police or not, have no business to interfere with what is going on inside the church – especially, when there is not the slightest reasonable suspicion.
To repeat, JAIS violated the sanctity of the sanctuary of another religion. The raid is not only illegal; it is an almost unforgivable sin.
FLIMSY EVIDENCE FOR CHARGE OF PROSELYTIZATION
JAIS’ violation is unjustifiable and would set a dangerous precedent if left unchallenged. Christians are naturally aggrieved (and MBBCHST publicly shares the same sentiments with a public statement) and have good reasons to demand an apology and receive an assurance that such acts will not be repeated.
This grievous issue must be kept in the forefront, especially now that JAIS is desperately trying to muddy the controversy by heaping a series of accusations about Christian proselytization and conversion of Muslims.
But the allegation of proselytization just won’t hold water:
First, JAIS has not linked, much less produced evidence to support allegations of proselytization in DUMC. If there is any allegation of proselytization, it is directed towards Harapan Community. DUMC is only the renter letting out its premises to a bona fide NGO. DUMC’s innocence and integrity is above reproach. In contrast, JAIS exceeded its bounds of authority.
Second, JAIS has failed to produce credible evidence to support the charge of proselytization by Harapan Community. It produced a scanned picture of a quiz on Islam and took offense that words like “Allahu Akbar” and “Alhamdullilah” were used at the dinner. But this evidence proves to be dubious upon a closer examination:
The quiz turns out to be an exercise to help people understand Islam better with questions like. “What does the word ‘Quran’ mean? How many sura are there in the Quran? What are the pillars of Islam?” It may be granted that JAIS may have (still disputable) grounds to charge Harapan community if the quiz was on Christianity, but it turns out that the quiz was on Islam. If anybody has reason to be offended, it is the Christian community, since apparently Islam was taught in church!
Likewise, what’s wrong with Christians using the words “Allahu Akbar” and “Alhamdullilah”? The phrases mean “God is great” and “Praise to God”. Malay speaking Christians who share strong historic links with Arabic Christians would feel as natural singing these phrases as when singing “Hallelujah”. As such, praise to God there certainly was, but proselytization, there surely wasn’t.
All in all, JAIS must be pretty desperate to clutch to these ‘evidence’ to support the alleged proselytization.
JAIS tries to buttress it case by making reference to Muslims who have converted to Christianity, but these cases have nothing to do with Harapan Community. But for the sake of argument, even if a Malay attending the thanksgiving dinner eventually declares he is a Christian, JAIS cannot simply jump to the conclusion that Harapan Community was guilty of proselytization. It could be the case, that this Malay became a Christian on his own initiative (given easy access to teaching of Christianity in the internet) or that he was influenced while studying overseas.
JAIS may implicate Harapan Community of proselytization only if it produces evidence that directly links the social services of Harapan Community to proselytization. So far, JAIS is unable to produce any evidence. A fortiori, it is even less able to associate DUMC with questionable allegations of proselytization.
To conclude and to recapitulate to the main issue, JAIS has no justifiable grounds to raid and violate the sanctity of a church (DUMC).
QUESTIONABLE PROCESS OF INVESTIGATION
That JAIS has failed to produce credible evidence does not mean it will not keep trying. But the longer it takes for JAIS to produce such ‘evidence’, the less credible the ‘evidence’ will turn out to be.
Naturally, JAIS has been unrelenting in wanting to haul up the twelve Malays who were at the dinner for further questioning. These Malays were first required to report for ‘counseling’ which would imply they were guilty of an (unproven) offence. When queried by the lawyer representing the twelve, JAIS replied that they were called to give statements (which should mean the twelve are innocent until proven guilty).
The lawyer representing the twelve sought the following clarifications before advising his clients to report to JAIS, that is, what legal provisions enable Jais to issue the Notice Orders requiring their clients to present themselves;
• The offence or details of the offence Jais is investigating;
• The offenders, if any, who were being investigated by Jais;
• The real purpose requiring their client’s attendance before Jais, whether to attend ‘pre-counselling sessions’ as offenders or merely to assist Jais in its investigations, if any.
As far as I know, JAIS has so far not answered these questions. There is now a new threat that the twelve will be arrested if they fail to turn up for questioning, as this would amount to an insult to Islam. This new threat is most disturbing when one notes a parallel phenomenon related to the charge of blasphemy to justify all manner of abuse of power by Islamic officials in Pakistan and some Middle Eastern countries. Submitting to JAIS’ threat would initiate a new trend that allows “blasphemy” and “insult” to cover a multitude of power abuse.
One can only surmise how the twelve will be questioned by JAIS and in the light of JAIS’ questionable behavior so far, people can only be skeptical of any ‘evidence and ‘confession’ that may eventually be extracted from the twelve.
PAS THE REAL TARGET OF JAIS’ RAID
One final observation:
First, it bears repeating that the real issue in this controversy is not about the alleged proselytization of Muslims by Harapan Community; it is the unprecedented act of violation of the sanctity of a Church (DUMC).
JAIS would have succeeded if it manages to deflect attention from this primary issue with its machinations of charges of proselytization and insult to Islam.
Even then, despite the importance of remaining focused on the raid of DUMC, it should be noted that the main target of this present exercise by JAIS (or whatever UMNO puppet master behind it) is not Harapan Community or DUMC. The real target is PAS.
UMNO officials and Malay supremacists like PEMBELA think they have found the right tactic to regain support from the Malay electorate. By seizing on the bogeyman of ‘conversion’ and ‘proselytization, it would catch PAS wrong-footed, put the Menteri Besar of Selangor on the defensive and if possible seriously damage Pakatan Rakyat.
If PAS fails to side with JAIS and condemns the alleged conversions, it will be accused of abandoning its role as the defender of Islam. UMNO then offers itself as the only genuine defender of Islam. If PAS publicly sides with JAIS it will lose its hard earned support from the non-Muslim electorate. Either way, PAS will be gored by the horns of dilemma set by UMNO.
Without a doubt, Islam is exploited by politicians to gain political power. It doesn’t matter if Harapan Community and DUMC happen to be convenient tools in the struggle between UMNO and PAS. They are just dispensable collateral damage.