Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jais in the dark over Islam propagation in longhouses

Posted on January 18, 2014, Saturday

KUCHING: The Sarawak Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) does not sanction the works of Pusat Dakwah Serantau, a non-governmental organisation based in Selangor, in propagating Islam in longhouses in rural Sarawak.

As such Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman called on those who knew about Pusat Dakwah Serantau’s activities in the state to either report the matter to the police or Jais for appropriate action to be taken against the Islamic NGO.

“As far as Jais is concerned, we have no idea about Pusat Dakwah Serantau’s activities in the state. So, the movement is considered illegal as it has not registered itself with Jais. In other word, its activities are not sanctioned by Jais,” Daud told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

He disclosed that Jais’ policy all this while was not to propagate Islam among the non-Muslim populace in the state as it was already the State’s Government policy to keep Sarawak’s racial and religious harmony among its 27 ethnic groups’ intact.

“As far as Jais is concerned, it is not our policy to propagate Islam to the non-Muslims here in Sarawak. We believed that if a person is sincere to embrace Islam then we expect them to come to any Jais’ office and make their intention known.

“And we will scrutinize their intention before they are to be converted. For us in Sarawak, we want to preserve the present peace and harmony among races and religions. And for that we will not go around to the longhouses to propagate Islam to our non-Muslim brothers and sisters,” assured Daud.

Meanwhile, when contacted, Senior Minister and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing said anyone is free to propagate any religion to the people including in the longhouses in Sarawak.

“It’s the basic rights of individuals to choose what religions he or she preferred. However, on the same note it is also their right to leave the religion if they chose to do so. We should not force people either to embrace a religion or stop them from leaving the religion. Religion should be based on the person’s own conviction and faith,” added Masing who is an anthropologist by profession.

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