BY SHAZWAN MUSTAFA KAMAL
JUNE 14, 2014
The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) want the seized bibles from the Bible Society Malaysia (BSM) to be disposed. — Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 ― The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) are now seeking a court ruling which will enable them to dispose over 300 bibles seized from the Bible Society Malaysia (BSM) on January 2.
This comes hours after a statement from Mais saying that they will not return the bibles, claiming that the Attorney-General has erred by deciding not to pursue charges in the case.
“Jais will abide by provisions within the criminal procedure code which stipulates that items seized during an investigation can be referred to the courts for a disposal order and this application must be made by the deputy public prosecutor,” Mais said in a fresh statement over the protracted tussle..
That is in line with the AG's orders for "case items" to be “disposed” of in accordance with the law, it added.
“Therefore, let the courts decide whether to make a disposal order or an order to return (the bibles),” Mais added.
Mais also reiterated that Jais, which comes under the council's purview will not adhere to the directive issued by the Selangor state government because the state had “no power” in the matter.
Earlier this morning, Mais insisted that there are grounds to “prosecute” BSM under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.
“We are well aware of the actions and efforts of some irresponsible parties who sully Islam by abusing phrases or names which are based on the Al-Quran in order to make it easier to proselytise to Muslims,” said the statement signed by Mais chairman Datuk Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa.
“Mais and Jais as enforcers are responsible in safeguarding the sanctity of Islam especially in Selangor,” the statement added.
The bibles in question were seized by the Selangor Islamic religious department (Jais) which comes under the purview of the council.
Using a Selangor state law that prohibits non-Muslims from using “Allah” to refer to God, Jais raided the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia on January 2, seizing over 300 copies of the Malay-language and Iban-language bibles which used the word.
On Wednesday, Malaysia’s Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said there will be no charges in the case.
BSM said in April it will move its headquarters to the federal government-ruled Kuala Lumpur to get “better protection” and avoid future bible seizures by religious authorities.
BSM also said it will also stop importing bibles through Selangor’s Port Klang.
It said it will send the bibles through Penang or directly to east Malaysia where most of its Christian readers of the Malay-language bibles live.
The continuing saga has heightened concerns that religious authorities, which issue rulings for Muslims and operate alongside conventional courts, now have more legal muscle.