Selangor exco member in charge of Islamic affairs Hasan Ali justified the raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church last night, saying that there was evidence of proselytisation.
In a statement late today, Hasan (left) said that 12 Muslims had participated in the dinner event on the church premises, and further investigations are under way against them.
“Based on our preliminary investigations, we find that those involved in the event can be charged under Section 10 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995.
“We also found evidence of proselytisation towards Muslims,” he said.
Section 10 makes it an offence for anyone to insult or cause Islam to be maligned through words, drawings, symbols or any other manner. The maximum penalty is RM5,000 or three years jail or both.
He, however, insists that there was “no raid nor arrests” made, and that the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) had only done a “search” of the premises.
He added that the “search” was conducted following a tip-off that Muslims were attending a breaking fast dinner in the church compound.
“Jais enforcement officers, with police, had done a search on the premises despite being stopped by the organisers,” he said, adding that the main organiser is believed to be a Muslim.
Hasan added that Jais reported that the event featured a speaker who used the words “Quran” and “pray (in English)” in his speech.
He also said that organisers tried to “destroy evidence” when enforcement officers began the search after an hour-long negotiation with the said “main organiser”.
“Some participants had tried to escape through the back door but were stopped by enforcement officers,” he said.
MB express regrets, orders full report from Jais
Meanwhile, in a statement sent moments before Hasan’s, Selangor MB Abdul Khalid Ibrahim broke his silence by expressing regret over the raid.
In a statement late today, Abdul Khalid said that he had “personally called” DUMC senior pastor Daniel Ho on the matter.
“I told him that the state has instructed Jas to provide a full report detailing the incident, including their justifications for their actions that night. I hope to meet the pastor again once the report is completed,” said the MB.
Reassuring the residents of Selangor, Abdul Khalid said that the state government “fully respects freedom of religion of the rights of religious groups to manage their affairs”.
Abdul Khalid’s statement, however, falls short of an apology demanded by BN leaders in the wake of the event.
Last night, Jais officers barged into a 1Malaysia dinner attended by guests from different ethnicities held on church premises.
Church officials said that the officers had questioned the guests and seized programme booklets during the incident.