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 a 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 into 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 a 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 raids 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 backpedalled from its claim to have the authority to raid DUMC and now describes its act as an “inspection” — a definite sign that it realises (but is 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 Syariah law 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 a 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 proselytisation

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 proselytisation and conversion of Muslims.

But the allegation of proselytisation just won’t hold water.

First, Jais has not linked, much less produced evidence to support allegations of proselytisation in DUMC. If there is any allegation of proselytisation, 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 exceeds its bounds of authority.

Second, Jais has failed to produce credible evidence to support the charge of proselytisation 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 proselytisation, there surely wasn’t.

All in all, Jais must be pretty desperate to clutch to these “evidence” to support the alleged proselytisation.

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 proselytisation.

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 proselytisation only if it produces evidence that directly links the social services of Harapan Community to proselytisation. So far, Jais is unable to produce any evidence. A fortiori, it is even less able to associate DUMC with questionable allegations of proselytisation.

To conclude and to recapitulate to the main issue, Jais has no justifiable grounds to raid and violate the sanctity of a church (DUMC).