Selangor Islamic affairs exco member Hasan Ali today rapped the media for using the word 'raid' in describing the Aug 3 incident at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church.
Instead, he said, the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) had in fact just 'searched' the premises during the controversial incident.
"The term 'search' has been changed to become 'raid'. Who raided (the place)? A raid involves acts of ransacking, kicking in doors, and throwing things around...
"(But the meaning of) 'search' is different... did the media see in the incident or really understand what took place?" he asked about 180 people, including media practitioners.
In his opening speech at a Jais-sponsored seminar entitled "The Implementation of Policy and Strategy: The Role of Media in Facing Threats to Faith", Hasan added that the word 'raid' implied that force was used by Jais.
"When Jais is reported to have conducted a raid, it means that Jais had acted roughly, did not follow investigation norms, that they were trying to cover up something and going against moral and religious teachings," he said.
Sympathise with Jais call
Defending Jais further, Hasan, who stressed he had no "conflict of interest" in the issue, also invited the audience to "show sympathy" to the embattled department.
"When I defend Jais in its involvement in the incident, I am not thinking as a PAS member or a politician (but) as someone who has been entrusted by God.
"My words are sincere, I speak of faith and syariah... I do not use the language of politics," he said.
Hasan, who is also Gombak Setia assemblyperson, said that in fact there are "a lot of things" that he wanted to say in relation to the incident, but was barred by the gag order issued by the menteri besar on all exco members.
He added that he had adhered to the gag order so that his statements could not be "manipulated" by the media.
Speaking to reporters later, he said that he "did not see" any errors in media reports of the controversial incident, but problems in the way the reports were slanted.
"This issue involves Muslims and non-Muslims, involving two religions, so it is very sensitive," Hasan (right) said, reminding reporters that the gag order was still in force.
Asked to elaborate on his call for sympathy for Jais, Hasan said this meant that the media should "report in the context in which Jais would want".
"I'm not asking you to support Jais, no, no, no. I want to see the media understand what Jais wants, its idealism and intentions," he said.
On when the Sultan of Selangor is expected to reveal the Jais report on the church incident, Hasan said that "it is not in his jurisdiction".
"That is between the MB (Abdul Khalid Ibrahim) and the sultan... it's best we wait for the palace to decide," he said.
On a separate matter, Hasan said he was still waiting for the sultan to make time to discuss the issue pertaining to accreditation for politicians to speak on religious matters.
He said that he was also looking to meet with the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (Mais) and Jais to discuss the matter.
“We will see when the sultan is available, and when Jais and Mais are free... but we will follow the palace’s schedule,” he said.
He added that Jais’ decision not to give accreditation to politicians had caused “slight confusion and unhappiness” among preachers who were also politicians.
Among those who have failed to obtain the mandatory accreditation is PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who has also been vocal against the Jais search of DUMC.
So, now it is a 'search' and not a 'raid'. I guess Hasan Ali must be taking us for a fool. If it was a 'search', then where was the search warrant? About 30 JAIS officers and police personnel entered a private premise where a private charity dinner is being hosted, UNINVITED, going from table to table asking the guests to produce their MyKad and then checking the place over for evidences that may implicate the organisers and Muslim guests of possible proselytisation, is not only trespassing in effect but the activities conducted was undoubtedly a 'raid'.
Maybe I am not so conversant with the various religious enactments passed by our state legislators but if it is true that JAIS and the police can conduct a search without a warrant and can enter a private premise without prior consent of the owner, then there is something very wrong with the law. It makes it appear as though we are living under the tyranny of the Nazis where the Gestapos could come knocking at your door in the middle of the night, enter the place as they like, make a search and then followed by arrests. If it is true, then who are the parties involved, besides UMNO, in passing this Act. The Act could not have come into effect during Pakatan's administration as such activities were carried out even before 2008. One possible answer ..... MCA and MIC! Even if they had protested against the raid, it was definitely a weak protest because they were a party to the passing of such an Act.
What JAIS could have done insofar as the DUMC is concerned :
1. Upon arriving at the church, have all the officers wait outside the premises of the building or outside the church gate. Some due respect must be given as this is a church not a drug den.
2. The leader of the party will then enter the premise and ask for the organiser.
3. Once the organiser is made known, the leader of the raid party identifies himself and state his purpose of the visit.
4. The organiser will then arrange a private room for the necessary interview between the JAIS officers and the Muslim guests.
5. The organiser can then go quietly from table to table to inform Muslim guests of JAIS presence and their purpose of wanting to interview them.
6. Once everything is ready, the leader than signal his men to enter the premises, quietly directing his men what to do. Long before the raid, JAIS officers should also be briefed of the DOs and DON'Ts when entering Christian churches or Hindu/Buddhist temples. Their job is not to alarm the guests and at the same traumatising them with their sudden appearance.
Respect begets respect. If you don't respect the religion of other faiths, how could you possibly expect others to respect you? It is so simple, and yet it is not adhered to.