MAIS’ “Defense” on the Bible Society Raid


MAJLIS AGAMA ISLAM SELANGOR
PRESS STATEMENT OF SELANGOR ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS COUNCIL (MAIS) ON THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE NON-ISLAMIC RELIGIONS (CONTROL OF PROPAGATION AMONGST MUSLIMS) ENACTMENT 1988 IN SELANGOR

The following press statement is made to clarify the action taken by Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) being the Islamic affairs law enforcement agency in the state of Selangor.

MAIS would like to reiterate that the action taken by JAIS on January 2, 2014, to enter the Bible Society of Malaysia business premises in Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, and consequently seized a number of the Bible (Al-Kitab) in Malay version of which includes a few Malay printed copies of the Gospel of Luke wherein the name “Allah” appears in the said Bible was in accordance with the powers conferred upon them under the law, particularly under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the 1988 Enactment’).

The inspection and investigation by JAIS were done after complaints have been lodged by the public regarding the publication of the Bible (Al-Kitab) wherein the name’Allah’ is used in the Bible (Al-Kitab) which if it proven is an offence under Section 9 of the 1988 Enactment.

Pursuant to the provisions under the 1988 Enactment, JAIS has the jurisdiction and power to investigate offences committed by Muslims as well as non-Muslims under this Enactment. Section 12 read together with the Schedule of the 1988 Enactment provides the power to conduct inspection and investigation to the officers from JAIS department as well as the police officers.

MAIS also would like to emphasize that the action by JAIS was not initiated on the basis that the Bible were printed in Malay language but due to fact that the name “Allah” was used in the said Bible which merits an investigation to determine whether such publication contravene the provision of Section 9 of the 1988 Enactment. Unfortunately, the media and also the statement from the Chairman of the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) have made various inaccurate allegations as reported in newspapers stating that the actions by JAIS in confiscating the said Bible printed and published in Malay Language was inappropriate and illegal. The action by these parties is regrettable because they have made statement without finding out the accurate facts.

MAIS also would like to highlights that JAIS has no obligation to inform any parties regarding any inspection and investigation because it may hamper the investigation’s process. However, the recent action by JAIS was done after.MAIS took a stance in its monthly meeting that JAIS must act on the complaints lodged by the public with regards to the offences under Enactment 1988 or in other words to enforce the existing laws in Selangor.

JAIS’s action should not be misunderstood as an act of interfering with the constitutional right of anyone to profess and practice their religions as enshrined under the Federal Constitution. This is because JAIS’s action was merely to enforce the law which was enacted to prevent the propagation of other religious doctrine or belief amongst the Muslims. Thus, it has nothing to do with any attempts to intervene with the rights and freedom of other religions to perform their religious practices.

The public is hereby reminded that besides the 1988 Enactment which prevents other religions from using the name “Allah”, there is also a fatwa issued by the Selangor Fatwa Committee which was gazetted on February 18, 2010, prohibiting the use of the name “Allah” by the non-Muslim in their religions. The state’s fatwa is also consistent with the decision pronounced during the 82nd National Fatwa Committee for Islamic Religious Affairs in Malaysia.

Besides that, the Court of Appeal on October 14, 2013 in the case of Minister of Home Affairs & 8 Others v. Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur (Civil Appeal No. W-01-1-2010) has held that the use of the name”Allah” in The Herald-The Catholic Weekly will cause confusion within the community and the name”Allah”certainly does not form as an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity. Although the Court of Appeal’s decision is being appealed at the Federal Court, such decision is still binding on all parties.

Pursuant to the fatwa which was issued at the State and National level along with the decision by the Court of Appeal, and taking into consideration the existence of the 1988 Enactment, His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor, as the head of the religion of Islam in Selangor, after consultation with Selangor Council of the Royal Court decided that any future action to be taken by the Selangor religious enforcement body must be in line with the provisions of 1988 Enactment.

Under such circumstances, MAIS urges the public not to make this into an issue so that the investigation can be completed without any undue influence and to ensure a fair and effective investigation.

DATO’ SETIA HAJI MOHAMAD ADZIB BIN MOND ISA PENGERUSI MAIS

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