Protect Rights Of Non-Muslims, Moderates Movement Head Tells Religious Authorities‎

State religious authorities must return to Islam's true teachings and ensure interfaith harmony is preserved in the country, the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF) said, in light of the ongoing Bible tussle between Islamic bodies and Christians in Selangor.

GMMF chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said non-Muslims should feel safe living in a country governed by Muslims, as Islam was a religion‎ of peace.

"We must return to the true teachings of Islam. For instance, there is no compulsion in religion. This means, among others, that we cannot force upon others how they should practise their religion.‎

"Muslims in power in a certain area should guarantee the safety and harmony of other faith adherents so they may practise their religion," the former Umno supreme council member told The Malaysian Insider.

‎The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) is refusing to return the 321 Bibles that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) in January, despite Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail's decision to close the case.

‎MAIS chairman Datuk Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa said BSM could be charged under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation among Muslims) Enactment 1988 as the Bibles contained the word “Allah” – which contravened the enactment.

On Thursday, the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said Jais must refer the issue of the seized Bibles to the public prosecutor.

The sultan's private secretary, Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani, said the sultan had called for the row over the BSM's holy books‎ to be resolved through the courts.

‎However, Saifuddin said that while the A-G may evaluate the issue based on federal laws, and MAIS based on state laws, Muslims should also use their wisdom in handling the issue.

He said the Prophet Muhammad, whom Muslims believe was the messenger of God, had provided the best example on how to interact with non-Muslims.

‎"(When resolving such issues) I would rather refer to Muslims' wisdom in managing their lives in a multi-religious society, rather than the legal perspective.

"When interacting with Christians, Prophet Muhammad was very wise. He did not disturb their churches nor their practices," said Saifuddin.

On Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar's refusal to take action in the interfaith child custody cases, Saifuddin said the inspector-general of police must not be seen as taking sides.

"Khalid must act. He must make a choice. An IGP cannot carry out his duty based on his faith, but his position.

"An IGP could be Muslim, Christian or a Buddhist, but he must still act according to the country's laws. If the law says he must take action, then he must do so," said Saifuddin.‎

Khalid was served a court order on Wednesday directing him to search and surrender Prasana Diksa (Ummu Habibah) to her Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi.

Indira's lawyer, M. Kulasegaran, said a copy of the order was given to the Perak police chief to track down the child, who was with her father, Muslim convert Muhammed Ridzuan Abdullah.

Saifuddin said it was difficult to understand Khalid's defiance, as all laws should be followed.

"I don't understand why Khalid is acting this way. The IGP cannot be on anyone's side and must abide by the law.

"If (he) doesn't like it, (he) should ask Parliament to amend it," said Saifuddin.

On Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's advice that couples in custody rows refer to the Federal Court, Saifuddin said: "It is difficult to comment. Because they both (Najib and Khalid) are contradicting one another."‎

Last week, DAP legal bureau chief Gobind Singh Deo lodged a police report against Khalid over his refusal to act on the civil court's orders in two child custody cases where the parents were of different religions.

Gobind said the IGP's‎ decision not to carry out the court orders had wide-reaching repercussions as it would erode public confidence in the judiciary as well as the justice system in the country.

‎ The Puchong MP added that police had a duty to execute any valid order issued by the courts, and failing to do so would place the judiciary under threat.

"A state of lawlessness would emerge as the authority of the courts has been challenged by apparent inactivity from the police," he said, after lodging a police report at the Batu 9 police station in Kajang.

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