JAIS rebuked over Hindu wedding raid

05 Jun 2014 / 11:19 H.

    SHAH ALAM: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today rebuked the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) over its raid on a wedding ceremony at a Hindu temple last Sunday.
    "This (situation) all came from not adhering to the teachings of the Quran. I would suggest that they go back to the Quran and find out what is the proper way to deal with such a situation," he said when commenting on the raid where JAIS officers took away a Hindu bride from her wedding ceremony after it was learned she has a Muslim name.
    Mahathir, who spoke to reporters after a lecture on "Contemporary Muslim lifestyles" at Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) in Gombak, said the situation arose from not adhering to the teachings of the Quran.
    "It (the Quran) is full of guidance as to how to conduct our life. As they say, Islam is a way of life. Go back to the Quran and find out whether you are right or wrong," he said.
    The bride, Zarena Abdul Majid, was about to marry a Hindu man when JAIS officers, with police waiting outside, went into a Hindu temple in Petaling Jaya at 10.30am last Sunday and took Zarena away to their office in Shah Alam for questioning.
    It was later revealed that Zarena and her siblings were registered as Muslims in their identity cards by their father, who is said to have abandoned them more than 20 years ago.
    "The Quran has stated clearly (to one's beliefs) – to you your own religion, to me, mine. So, you must respect other religions too. You will pray in your own way and we will pray our own way," said Mahathir, adding that JAIS officers were obviously following their own interpretation of the Quran when conducting the raid.
    Meanwhile, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim also rebuked JAIS, saying what it had done was not in accordance to procedures and was "an embarrassment to the state government".
    "According to JAIS, it was not a raid. According to the press, it was a raid; but according to us, it is an embarrassment," Khalid told reporters after chairing the weekly state executive council meeting.
    "We need more humility. A wedding is a great occasion and we should not spoil it," he said, adding that JAIS was supposed to inform the state government prior to any enforcement action but they had unilaterally conducted the raid on Zarina's wedding.
    "We will take action against JAIS," said Khalid, who declined to elaborate, saying it is an internal state government matter.
    He stressed that the state executive council had emphasised the need for JAIS to follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) and take action against officers who do not comply with the state exco's directives.
    The SOP was created after JAIS raided the Bible Society of Malaysia's (BSM) premises in January and seized more than 300 bibles in the Malay and Iban language. The bibles have not been returned and are still with the Attorney-General's Chambers although it has been nearly six months since the raid.
    Khalid said the state government had set a target date of six months for the former to resolve the issue, failing which he will seek another meeting with the parties concerned.
    Meanwhile, various other quarters also voiced criticised JAIS for the raid on Zarina's wedding.
    MCA youth legal bureau chairman Choo Wei Sern said what JAIS did was uncalled for and it was time for the federal government to take the lead by stepping in to resolve the problem once and for all, before the inter-racial harmony that the country shared for the past 57 years is further harmed.
    MIC secretary-general A. Prakash Rao described JAIS's action as very "disappointing and totally unacceptable".
    "Conducting a raid in the middle of a wedding ceremony is a very sensitive issue," said Prakash, adding that JAIS could have handled the situation in a better way in order to avoid uproar among Malaysians of all races for its insensitivity, especially to the Hindus.
    Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) information chief Dr Muhammad Nur Manuty said an effective communication mechanism, based on the spirit of respecting each other, must be nurtured among Malaysia's multi-religious society for a long-term settlement.
    He said more consultations and dialogues must be held but relevant parties must be realistic, reasonable and professional.


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