Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Heated disagreement in S'gor delays Bible decision

8:22AM Jun 18, 2014
Heated disagreement between the Selangor Islamic authorities and the state government has threw a spanner in the works on the return of the Bible Society Malaysia’s (BSM) bibles.

This is despite that both the state and federal government are pushing for the return of the 300 holy books which were confiscated at a Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) raid on BSM in January.

The bibles in Malay and Iban were seized for they contained the word ‘Allah’ in reference to the Christian God.

The disagreement came to a head at a meeting between the Selangor Islamic authorities and the state government on Monday, which the Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim had hope to get a consensus on the matter before seeking an audience with the sultan, planned for today.

A source privy to what had happened during the nearly two-hour meeting said Selangor Islamic Council (Mais) chairperson Mohd Adzib Isa and Jais deputy director Ahmad Zaki Arshad stood their ground on their position not to return the seized bibles.

They butted heads with MB Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and state secretary Ahmad Khusrin Munawir, who insisted the holy books should be returned following the attorney-general’s decision to close the case.

The source told Malaysiakini that both Mais and Jais had insisted that even though the case was closed, the raid and seizure were still legal under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) 1988.

“So Jais and Mais believe that the seized items ... should not be released,” he told Malaysiakini.

Differing opinions

Those who attended the closed-door meeting on Monday refused to speak to journalists who had waited outside the state secretariat building.

Selangor executive council member in charge of Islamic affairs Sallehen Mukhyi (right), on emerging from the meeting room, said the MB would issue a statement later, but no statement was forthcoming.

When met at the state legislative assembly building yesterday, Khalid denied that there was a feud but conceded there were differing opinions at Monday’s meeting.

“No, there was none (tension)... I want to stress that there was a discussion and of course some differing opinions. We discussed these differences to see what we could do.

“It doesn’t mean that everything could be solved immediately. My exco members may also have views so I have to consult them first,” he told Malaysiakini.

However, when approached after the state cabinet meeting later yesterday, the MB declined to comment.

“The discussion is not yet over,” he said without elaborating.

Khalid had earlier said that he hoped to have an audience with Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah to present some options to His Majesty on how to solve the controversy.

Whether he will have an audience with the sultan today, the MB is in a tight spot as he does not have an agreement from the various parties on what to do with the seized bibles and is now seen to have no control over the state’s Islamic authorities.
~ Malaysiakini

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