Apostasy ruling fracas: Muslim NGOs call on authorities to take action against instigators

Quran. — DayakDaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, March 1: A total of 26 Muslim NGOs have urged the relevant authorities to take actions against those who exhibited unruly behaviour at the Sarawak Court House on Tuesday.

In a 10-point official statement today, these NGOs said they would not allow Sarawak’s peace and harmony to be threatened by unwarranted deeds and words and urged the authorities to take necessary actions.

“We should not allow our peaceful and harmonious community to be threatened by unwarranted provocations arising from immature actions and statements. Thus, in good faith we urge the authorities to enforce the law and take stern actions against those who commit hate crimes, without fear or favour,” said the group.

The NGOs explained that Islam is a religion of peace that teaches civility and thus they do not condone nor approve any mischievous actions towards anyone.

“Thus we praise the noble actions by fellow Sarawakians who stood by each other during the congregation at the Court last Tuesday.

“As Islam promotes the spirit of brotherhood it is also the right of every citizen to attend and show solidarity in issues concerning them in line with Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“We praise all Muslim attendees for showing the brotherhood spirit and solidarity in peace at the court and we call for this to be translated by being exemplary Muslims protecting the dignity of Islam in Sarawak,” said the NGOs.

The NGOs further called on all Sarawakians to step up efforts to educate themselves “by cultivating love and respect towards each other irrespective of our faiths, ethnicity or cultural traditions to safeguard the Sarawakian unity in diversity”.

The media, both mainstream and alternative, were also urged to promote peace and harmony while political personnel and organisations were asked not to politicise the issue “along religious and racial sentiments for political gains”.

“We ask them to refrain from making political stunts or prejudicial actions and comments on the issue that could jeopardize our unity and harmonious co-existence,” said the NGOs.

Quoting Article 11 (4) of the Federal Constitution, the NGOs also highlighted that “no actions of propagating other religious doctrine or beliefs among Muslims can be done”.

The 26 Muslim NGOs include Harakah Islamiah (HIKMAH), Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) Sarawak, Halaqah Kemajuan Muslim Sarawak (HIKAM), Yayasan Amal Malaysia Cawangan Sarawak, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) Cawangan Sarawak, Urusetia Saudara Kita (USK), Majlis Perundingan Pertubuhan Islam Malaysia (MAPIM) Sarawak, and Persatuan Rannuhabban Akhi Ukhti (PRAU).

Ikatan Graduan Melayu Sarawak, Persatuan Belia Islam Nasional (PEMBINA) Sarawak, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Saudara Kita Sarawak, Ikatan Pengamal Perubatan dan Kesihatan Muslim Malaysia (I-Medik Sarawak), Pertubuhan Darul Hana Sarawak (PERDANA), Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association, Sarawak Branch (MACMA), Persatuan Kebajikan Islam Sarawak (PERKIS), Hidayah Centre Sarawak, Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia, Negeri Sarawak (IKRAM) were also in the list.

The rest of the nine NGOs were Pertubuhan Kebajikan Ukhuwwah Saudara Kita Kuching Samarahan (PKUSKKS), Persatuan Iban Muslim (PIM), Pertubuhan Komuniti Harmoni Sarawak (HARMONIS), Persatuan Melayu Miri, Persatuan Dayak Muslim Kebangsaan, Sukarelawan Al-Falah YADIM Sarawak, Persatuan Kebajikan Pelajar Islam Sarawak (PERKEPIS), Sahabat YADIM Sarawak and PERKIM Bahagian Sarawak.

The statement was in response to the actions of a group of youths who had exhibited unruly behaviour in at the Sarawak Court House after the announcement of a judgment over jurisdiction on four apostate cases.

The case was brought to the Federal Court by the four appellants who included a Malay Muslim who has converted to Christianity and three other Muslim converts who wished to return to Christianity after their spouses passed away or following divorce.

Catholic Archbishop Most Reverend Fr Simon Poh who was present at the hearing somehow became the target of intimidation of the vocal and rowdy youths.

He was surrounded and jeered at as he was making his exit at the end of the Federal Court hearing. A group of people formed a protective cordon around the archbishop and escorted him to safety outside the courthouse and to his vehicle. — DayakDaily