Monday, 2 June 2014

Hindraf slams Jais over Hindu wedding raid

Hindraf slams Jais over Hindu wedding raid

Source: Malaysiakini News (2 June 2014)



Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia (PHM) has called on parliamentarians to amend the laws to stop "overzealous" officials from the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) from overstepping their boundaries.

PHM chief P Waythamoorthy today condemned Jais for stopping a wedding at a Hindu temple on Sunday because it suspected that the bride was a Muslim.

Jais sources were reported by Sinar Harian as saying that it used a 1988 law, to prevent Muslims converting out of the faith, to justify its actions for taking the bride away from the wedding in Petaling Jaya.

Waythamoorthy disagreed and was outraged that Jais can do this.

"The raid was unlawful, unconstitutional and encourages unnecessary disturbance to the peace enjoyed between the communities.

"This action by Jais clearly shows disrespect tfor the sensitivities of non-Muslims and their places of worship. Their act is a clear crossing of the boundary of their jurisdiction," he said in a press statement.

Waythamoorthy said Jais' action violated Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which enshrines the rights of Malaysians to practise freedom of religion.

"Jais or any Muslim authority should not take the religious sensitivities of other faiths for granted.

"As much as Muslims are sensitive to their religion, others have the same feelings too," added the former deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Waythamoorthy said Jais was fortunate that its actions did not invite rash actions and untoward happenings in the temple on Sunday, noting that the bride was an adult who had grown up a Hindu, who was still working out the mistake of being registered as a Muslim by her neglectful father.

"We have a serious problem in this country. The civil service is dominated by Malay and Muslim-centric officers who bulldoze their personal belief in the supremacy of their religion in the government administration," he added.

On Jan 2, Jais also drew controversy when it raided the office of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and seized 321 copies of Malay and Iban-language bibles for its investigation.

Two BSM workers were temporarily hauled up for questioning and the case remains unresolved.


The following is the full text of Hindraf's Statement:

Hindraf condemns the action of Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) yesterday in raiding and interrupting a wedding that was about to take place in a Hindu temple.

The raid was unlawful, unconstitutional and encourages unnecessary disturbance to the peace enjoyed between the communities. This action by JAIS clearly shows disrespect to the sensitivities of Non-Muslims and their places of worship. Their act is a clear crossing the boundary of their jurisdictions.

It was reported by Sinar harian and Malaysiakini that JAIS acted under a 1988 enactment (control and propagation amongst Muslims) which makes it an offense to persuade, influence or incite any Muslim to change their faith.

This act does not confer any kind of rights on the JAIS to raid the temple and stop a Hindu wedding from taking place. The act in itself is clear.

The wedding was taking place with the consent and knowledge of the difficult situation the bride was in ie that she had been converted when she was a child by her father without her knowledge and she had been practicing the Hindu faith since birth.

Further the bride had entered into the marriage on her own will without any coercion or incitement, therefore how is it possible that this enactment is applicable in this matter.

The overzealous attitude taken by the JAIS officers depicts such a free hand they have into interfering into the personal life of a Non-Muslim individual with impunity from the law.

The absolute arbitrary power of these JAIS officers to interfere into the Non-Muslim affairs needs to be stopped immediately when they clearly infringe Article 11 of the supreme law of this country as seen in this matter.

JAIS or any Muslim authorities should not take the religious sensitivities of other faiths for granted. As much as Muslims are sensitive to their religion, others have the same feelings too.

In this case it was fortunate nothing untoward happened in the temple and those present did not react to the unlawful and unconstitutional raid carried by Jais in the Hindu temple.

The controversy of religious status amongst many who claim that they have been converted without their knowledge and the reluctance by the National registration to act according to civil laws in giving the victims of those circumstances a remedy to correct the wrongs not caused by their fault is the main reason for the continuance of such controversies.

We have a serious problem in this country. The civil service is dominated by Malay and Muslim centric officers who bulldoze their personal belief in the supremacy of their religion in the Government administration.
Their behavior is nothing short of bullying assisted by the government organs and machinery in oppressing the Non-Muslim community and their beliefs.

Hindraf calls upon parliamentarians from both divide to move an act in Parliament (which is long due) to correct and amend the legal hurdles that has been in place in protecting the Religious freedom of individuals.

Thank you.

P.Waytha Moorthy
CHAIR
HINDRAF

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