Thursday, August 04, 2011

Multi-racial dinner at church disrupted by Jais

Officers from the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) last night trespassed into a church compound in Petaling Jaya and disrupted a multiracial thanksgiving dinner.

According to Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) senior pastor Daniel Ho, a group of between 20 to 30 Jais and police officers, uniformed and plainclothes, entered the premises without a warrant.

"They entered the hall where the dinner was taking place, and started taking videos and photographs," said Ho in a statement today.

"When asked by the organisers why they were there, a Jais (official) replied that they received a complaint, but was unable to produce a copy (of the complaint) when asked," he added.

NONEHo claimed that Jais officers took down details of the Muslim guests before leaving the premises with the police.

According to him, the dinner was held by non-profit organisation Harapan Komuniti at the Dream Centre, an activity complex within the DUMC compound.

The occasion was to commemorate the NGO's efforts on numerous community projects, including with women and children, and victims of HIV/AIDS and natural disasters.

"Harapan Komuniti is a community-based NGO that brings love, hope and peace to the poor, needy and marginalised, regardless of race, language, religion or status.

"The dinner was a multiracial celebratory gathering of volunteers, leaders, supporters and members of the community who have benefited from the NGO's work," Ho explained.

DUMC and Community Excel Services, which had rented Dream Center, said they were highly disappointed with the actions of Jais and police officers who had entered and searched a private property without a warrant.

"They have subjected all guests at the Thanksgiving Dinner to undue harassment," said Ho, stressing the dinner's aim of appreciating and commemorating Harapan Komuniti's efforts to help Malaysians of all walks of life."

Ho called on all Malaysians not to condone this breach of freedom of assembly and association as provided by Article 10 of the federal constitution, "but to live in mutual trust and love, to promote peace, harmony and unity in the true spirit of 1Malaysia".

According to DUMC members who posted about the incident on micro-blogging website Twitter, Jais officers ransacked the garbage bins of the church.

Last Friday, Dream Centre hosted an electoral reform forum organised by the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham), featuring Bersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan and Election Commission deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.


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