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JAIS probe focuses on conversion attempt

PETALING JAYA: The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) is investigating the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) dinner under Section 4 of the Non-Islamic Religious Enactment 1988.

In a letter to Hoi Jack S’ng, one of two lawyers representing 10 of the 12 Muslims who attended the event, JAIS stated that it concerned the offence of “persuading, influencing or inciting a Muslim to change his faith.”

“We know what the offence is but but we don’t know who they are investigating (as the letter did not state names),” said the lawyer, adding that the letter was received today.

JAIS had responded to a letter from the lawyers seeking clarification on an earlier notice issued by the religious deparment on Aug 3 summoning their clients to be present at a “pre-counselling” session yesterday.

However, the 10 decided to skip the meeting due to lack of details in the notice.

“We raised the issue with JAIS, mainly under what legal provision did JAIS issue the order and what was the legal provision compelling our clients to attend the session,” Hoi said.

He added that the main offence committed was also unclear as no details were provided in the JAIS notice.

“Under the heading ‘details of offence’, there were no such details, it was left blank.

“So we didn’t know what they were investigating and what was the purpose our clients were summoned to meet with JAIS,” he said.

Hoi added that there was also confusion over the real intention of the meeting as it was unclear if his clients were asked to attend in order to be investigated or to be counseled.

“Pre-counseling sessions are only given if Muslims have been found guilty or suspected of committing an offence.

“So it was unclear if it they were summoned to attend a pre-counselling session or just to give a statement,” he said, adding that the lawyers wrote a letter to JAIS seeking claritication on Monday.

Yesterday, JAIS deputy director in charge of investigations and enforcement Sharom Maarof said he would apply for arrest warrants “within 24 hours” from the Syariah Court for the arrest of the 12 for failing to turn up to facilitate investigations.

Responding to this, Hoi said his clients had yet to be served with the warrants.

‘JAIS acted based on assumption’

Lawyer Annou Xavier, who is representing NGO Harapan Komuniti which hosted the fundraising dinner last Wednesday, said JAIS had acted based on assumption and “disrupted a peaceful and harmonious charity event” organised by a community which helped the marginalised.

He added that the NGO was a “1Malaysia” organisation “in its pure sense” and its board members were represented by a Malay, a Chinese and an Indian to assists “all races, religion and creed”.

Meanwhile, Harapan Komuniti executive director Raymond Koh said that some 120 people had attended the dinner from different backgrounds and were treated with “a meal catered by Muslims followed by live performances, a 1Malaysia dance, a quiz and reporting by individuals”. A general prayer was also offered.

Yesterday, FMT reported that a Muslim NGO claimed it found proof to back the allegation of proselytisisation of Muslims during the event.

Dr Dzulkhaini Husain, chairman of Sahabat Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya (PPUM), claimed that the tentative itinerary for the event included a quiz to test the participants’ knowledge of Islam, a prayer session and songs with the words “Alhamdulillah” dan “Allahuakhbar”.

He claimed that the questionnaires were found in the garbage bin and demanded an explanation from the organisers on the motive for posing such questions.

Asked to comment on this, Xavier clarified that “Alhamdulillah” dan “Allahuakhbar” were just songs rendered at the dinner.

“It is just like ‘we thank God’ in English,” he said.

Contacted later, Harapan Komuniti’s Koh refused to comment on the matter, saying that more details would be revealed in future.

More than 30 police and JAIS officers raided DUMC’s Section 13 premises here after receiving complaints that Muslims were present.

In a related development, PAS Youth defended the raid and Selangor exco for religious affairs Hasan Ali, who had stood by JAIS’ action despite Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and PAS Selangor Commissioner III Khalid Samad expressing regret over the incident.

PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi, who met with Hasan yesterday, said the wing was convinced that the raid was done to defend Islam.

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