By Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham) Proham recognises that there is a rising trend among certain public sector institutions to disregard basic human rights in the conduct of their work. Such actions have negative implications for inter ethnic and religious relations in multi cultural Malaysia. The raid of Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) by two agencies namely the Selangor Religious Department (JAIS) and the other the PJ Police on the evening of August 3, 2011 is one clear example of where there was a total disregard for basic decency and human rights. According to press reports, JAIS acted based on an unverified complaint which was not disclosed. The Selangor State Exco member for Islamic Affairs has justified such a raid on the DUMC on grounds that there is some proof of proselytisation. None of these accusations nor any evidences have been made public by Hasan Ali nor Jais. On the other hand Pastor Dr Daniel Ho of DUMC in his statement has indicated that the event in question was a multi racial dinner hosted by a non-profit organization Harapan Komuniti. This was an appreciation dinner for volunteers. Malaysians of other faiths join Muslims for meals as a matter of routine. Proham views this action of raiding DUMC with great concern as this raid was done without a “search warrant”. It has further interrupted a social function and caused tremendous anxiety to the guests and the Christian community. This kind of action reflects a high handed approach of moral policing which is unacceptable and which will not be tolerated in multi cultural societies. Care should be taken when accusations of this nature take place without any prior discussion with the concerned parties or warning. This approach of consultation and dialogue will reflect mutual respect between the officers of JAIS and the Christian leaders of DUMC or any other religious group. Proham also views with great concern the role played by Police officers during this raid. While the Police have indicated that they merely accompanied JAIS officers, the presence of the Police and their visibility implicates them as being part of the raiding party thereby leaving the Christian community without an independent enforcement unit to appeal too. Proham calls on the Inspector General of Police to review the role of the Police in such action as these negatively implicates PDRM. This is not the first incidence where there is an encounter between Muslim enforcement agencies and other religious faiths. Therefore:- Proham recommends that in all such incidents involving JAIS or any other Muslim enforcement agencies, there must be prior consultation and discussion with the community leaders in accordance to the Federal Constitutions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Proham calls on JAIS and the Selangor Exco concerned to make a public explanation of their actions and enter into a dialogue with DUMC leaders exercising compassion and humility especially during the Fasting month. Proham calls on the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of all the states to establish “Inter religious Department for Non Muslim Faith communities” which must be consulted on actions to be taken which impacts basic human rights of other religious communities.
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