Archbishop jeered at, followed by rowdy youths

KUCHING, Feb 27: Catholic Archbishop Most Reverend Fr Simon Poh was jeered at by a group of rowdy youths when he was making his exit at the end of a Federal Court hearing today.

Just minutes earlier, a five-member panel of judges, headed by Court of Appeal President Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and comprizing Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Ahmad Maarop and Justices Hasan Lah, Jeffrey Tan and Ramli Ali made the unanimous decision that four apostasy cases are to be heard in the Syariah Court and struck out the appeal to have the cases heard in the civil court.

Although the crowd was shouting at him and chanting ‘Allahuakhar’, Poh gave the assurance that he was fine.

“I am sure that you heard the news. Just an assurance that I am fine. There was a commotion in court and the crowd was getting rowdy after the judgment. There were many good Muslims who were there to escort me safely out to courthouse, including the Sarawak’s Islamic Information Centre chief executive officer Zabariah Matali, who is also a personal friend.

“As the Muslim groups become rowdier and louder (as you can see in video) another group of Muslims and others escorted me safely to my vehicle pick up at the road side,” Poh said in a statement.

Kuching Police Chief ACP Abang Ahmad Abang Julai confirmed that there was no attack, but just a group of people who followed Poh at a very close range.

“The group just followed Poh from behind and a few others also tried to protect him. We also advised them not to be too close to the Archbishop as that could spark an untoward incident.

“The archbishop’s car was parked near our LSF (Light Strike Force) on standby. He left the court safely. So there was no untoward incident happening.

“Everything was under control and the group dispersed peacefully,” Abang Ahmad said.

The four persons filing the appeal are Muslim-born Syarifah Nooraffyza Wan Hosen who had embraced Christianity in 2009, while the rest are Muslim converts Mohd Syafig Abdullah @ Tiong Choo Ting, Salina Jau Abdullah and Jenny Peter @ Nur Muzdhalifah Abdullah who wished to return to Christianity after their spouses passed away or following divorce. — DayakDaily