LAST_UPDATETue, 15 May 2018 11am

Jais Raid on DUMC: Something Funny Going On in Church?

Apparently there’s more to the State Religious Department (Jais) raid (or ‘inspection’ as Jais calls it) on Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) than meets the eye. It was not the presence of Muslims at the muhibbah breaking-of-fast/thanksgiving dinner that prompted Jais to gatecrash the function as many had initially thought. Understandably, this presumption over what happened on that fateful evening of Aug 3 had caused gross outrage among the Malaysian public including Muslims (since there’s nothing wrong with Muslims entering or dining in churches). But there was something else going on at the thanksgiving ‘dinner’ other than dining, as claimed by Jais and Selangor state exco member Datuk Hasan Ali of PAS, since there were evidence of proselytization towards Muslims. So, in this case, Jais may not have been overzealous like many initially thought.


altAccording to reports, evidence gathered from investigations denotes that DUMC is on the wrong side of the law in more than one way. As far as proselytization goes, DUMC had allegedly been giving quizzes on Islam. Sahabat Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya (PPUM) chairperson Dr Dzulkhaini Hussain alleged that “church members” had quickly torn up and thrown copies of the quiz into dustbins while Jais' officers were waiting to enter their premises.


“Pieces of (the quiz) were successfully retrieved from the dustbins, and the question is what is there to be afraid of if there is no wrongdoing?” Dzulkhaini said, as quoted by Berita Harian.

altBerita Harian also reproduced a photograph of the said document they attributed to the “church members” titled in English, 'Let's test your knowledge' that it said contained 12 Islam-related questions in Bahasa Malaysia. Among the questions were, 'What is the meaning of the word Islam', 'What is the meaning of the word Muslim?' and who was the angel who made the revelation to Prophet Muhammad. Dr Zulkhaini also said there was evidence during the thanksgiving dinner that phrases like “Alhamdulillah” and “Allahu Akbar” were used.

“According to inside sources, the thanksgiving dinner function was called Terima Kasih Allah/Jesus,” said Dr Zulkhaini at a press conference at the Shah Alam mosque.

altOn top of the Islamic-themed quiz and the exploitation of Islamic phrases, Jais also found the Malay version of the Bible in DUMC which is deemed illegal in Peninsular Malaysia. It also didn’t help that the Muslims who were present at the dinner had reportedly denied that they are Muslims. To make matters worse, the church did not have an approval to operate at the Dream Centre in Section 13 in Petaling Jaya.

“When DUMC submitted an application for an approval for the building premises, it stated that its purpose was for the use of a community hall,” said Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) official Zainun Zakaria.

alt“You need to be specfic as to its activities,” she said, adding that the land that the DUMC stands on now was gazetted for industrial use and not for religious purposes.

Once the news on the raid got out it didn’t take long for pro Muslim and pro Malay NGOs (i.e. Perkasa) to spring into action with their politicizing and organizing of rallies to protest against the Selangor state government headed by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. The NGOs were not happy that Khalid did not back Jais over its action on DUMC for the Mentri Besar had expressed regret over the incident a day after the raid.

Trouble didn’t stop there for Khalid. Just when he thought he had managed to cool things down by proposing to set up a Syura council to resolve the issue another issue had surfaced. Yesterday, the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah denied that he had suggested the state government to form the consultative council as claimed by Khalid the day before.

altPerhaps it was just a little miscommunication between the MB and the Sultan. No biggie. As of now, everyone’s waiting the full report from Jais which will be out in September. But the way things are looking for DUMC it may be unlikely that the church is going to be let off that easy especially if Jais have credible proof that there was concerted effort by members and staff of DUMC to convert Muslims into Christians. After all, regardless of our personal views on religious freedom, like it or not, such attempts is a breach of Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, which prohibits the preaching of other faiths to Muslims.








.Now it’s a question of what further action would be taken once Jais comes out with their report supplemented with evidence which will prove that although the missionary deeds by DUMC is deemed righteous by the church, it was still unseemly in the eyes of the law. From what we’ve seen so far, the people from DUMC looked like a nervous wreck. You can sense this from the YouTube video of the raid and DUMC’s postponement of its meeting with PAS leaders over the issue that was scheduled for last week.

altA tabligh member friend of mine had told me a few years ago about a church in Petaling Jaya that’s being frequented by Malays. I never thought much about it. But thinking back, the revelation was an indication that these things have been going on for quite a while and people know about it. This is not the first time there was a little issue between Christians and Muslims in this country. There were a series of, I should say, mildly unpleasant events involving Christians in the last few years which I shall not mention here.

Regardless, with all the politicizing that’s been going on and with the general election around the corner, or far corner, it’s still uncertain to whether DUMC will be let off with a slap on the wrist (i.e. the usual official apology) or perhaps the government want to make an example out of DUMC as a reminder that Article 11(4) is to be taken seriously. Bear in mind that there was that boo-boo by The Star which had featured a pork dish in its buka puasa dining section and the Home Ministry is still not too happy about that despite the newspaper’s issuing of an official apology soon after. That’s a classic.

*The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer.
















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