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Masing Takes Authorities To Task Over Bible Issue

ICC Note:

The Islamic authority in Malaysia, Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), seized over 300 Bibles from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and arrested several staff members in January, 2014. The Attorney General determined on June 12 that the Jais was “wrong” to carry out the raid and seize the Bibles. However, Jais openly disobeyed the decision to release the seized Bibles. BSM’s former president expressed the concern that Jais will continue to raid BSM and churches that use the Bible containing the word ‘Allah.’

06/16/2014 Malaysia (MalaysianDigest)- The refusal of Selangor’s religious authorities to surrender bibles they had confiscated is a blatant disregard of the laws of the nation, said Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Masing.

He said the state’s Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and Islamic Religious Department (Jais) were in contempt of court for not only refusing to surrender the bibles but also wanting to dispose of them.

“These two organisations are putting themselves above the law. I’m not a lawyer but in my understanding of the law, they are in contempt of court and as such, they are treading on very dicey ground where prosecution is a possibility,” said Masing, who heads the second largest Barisan Nasional party in Sarawak.

Some 300 Malay and Iban-languages bibles which contained the word “Allah” were seized by Jais in a raid on the Bible Society Malaysia (BSM) in January. The department had acted under a Selangor law which prohibits non-Muslims from using “Allah”.

Last Wednesday, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said no prosecution would be made relating to the bible seizure and that the case was closed. He said the Attorney-General’s Chambers had examined the facts and evidence in the investigation papers and concluded they were not the writings that were published under Section 9(1) (a) of the Selangor Non-Islamic Religion (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment, 1998.

Mais, however, said Abdul Gani had erred in his decision and said it would seek a court ruling to dispose of the bibles. Masing, who is an Iban, was appalled by the action of the religious authorities.

“We must realise this country has been stable and religiously harmonious over the years because we abide by the laws of this country.

“If anybody or organisation thinks they are above the law and act in any manner they deem fit, and those in authority are incapable of enforcing those laws, God help this country.”

BSM is considering moving its headquarters to Kuala Lumpur to get “better protection” and avoid further bible seizures.

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