Mais remains adamant about not returning seized bibles

Mohd Adzib Mat Isa

(Malay Mail Online) – The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) remains adamant that it will not return bibles seized from a Christian group early this year even though the Attorney General decided that no charges would be pressed.

Mais chairman Datuk Mohd Adzib Mat Isa said the council is steadfast in the decision, defying the Selangor state government.

“Our decision stands… there has not been a change,” Mohd Adzib was quoted as saying by Malay language daily, Utusan Malaysia.

The bibles were seized from the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia in January because the books contain the word “Allah” to refer to God.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak advised Mais to consult the Attorney General’s chambers if the council feels the legal institution’s decision should be reviewed.

Najib said decisions pertaining to the bibles should be based on the provision of the Federal Constitution, singling out Article 3(1), which states Islam as the religion of the country but that other religions may be practised in peace and harmony.

The prime minister’s response came after several Muslim groups called for Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to be charged under the Selangor Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995 — which prohibits any doctrine or acts contrary to Islamic laws; and which outlaws any opinions contrary to a fatwa or religious edict.

Abdul Gani had said no charges would be brought against the BSM over the 321 bibles seized by Selangor’s religious authorities, pointing out that they were not “controlled items” and it was not a national security issue.

He said the state’s Islamic authorities would take the “next step” in accordance with the law, but did not expressly say that the bibles should be released.

Mais and its enforcement unit, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), are now seeking a court ruling to enable them to dispose of the bibles.

The council insisted that there are grounds to “prosecute” BSM under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988, contrary to Abdul Gani’s decision.

Following the impasse, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is scheduled to meet the Sultan of Selangor today to resolve the issue.