Returned bibles not for distribution in Selangor, MAIS says

MAIS chairman Datuk Mohd Adzib Mohd Isa says the returned Bibles are not for distribution in Selangor. ― Reuters pic
MAIS chairman Datuk Mohd Adzib Mohd Isa says the returned Bibles are not for distribution in Selangor. ― Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 ― Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (MAIS) said today it had returned bibles seized from a Christian society on condition that the books are not distributed in the state.

MAIS chairman Datuk Mohd Adzib Mohd Isa also said that the deal that allowed the books to be returned also required followers of other faiths to observe a decree by the Sultan of Selangor Sultan that Muslim sensitivities be respected.

“The return of these bibles containing the word ‘Allah’ is made with strict conditions that (these) bibles are not to be distributed in the state of Selangor, especially to the people of the Muslim faith and these bibles..are only for the usage of Christians in Sarawak,” Mohd Adzib said in a statement.

The new BSM president Bishop Datuk Moon Hing told Malay Mail Online last month that the society had not decided to move its office out of Selangor.

The Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government returned today the  bibles containing the word “Allah” to the  Bibles Society of Malaysia.The books had beenconfiscated by its state Islamic enforcers in January.

Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali was pictured giving back the Malay and Iban-language bibles to the Christian bookstore at Istana Alam Shah in Klang earlier this morning.

“An amicable resolution to the issue of the seizure of the Malaysia Language Bibles containing the word Allah,” Azmin tweeted from his @AzminAli account, attaching a photograph of the ceremony.

Commenting on the matter, MAIS said the deal was struck out of “respect for religious beliefs and and (to) maintain the sensitivity of various religions in the country”.

It also said the decision was reached following the Attorney-General's decision not to prosecute BSM over the matter and his eventual instruction to dispose of the bibles.

The bibles were returned to the Association of Churches in Sarawak who was represented by its chairman Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok earlier this morning witnessed by the Sultan, Azmin, representatives from MAIS and the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS).

Using a 1988 Selangor state law that prohibits non-Muslims from using “Allah” to refer to God, Jais carried out a surprise raid of BSM’s Selangor office on January 2, and seized over 300 copies of the bible in Malay and Iban. MAIS said it consulted the Sultan who ordered the bibles be returned.

After months of waiting for the bibles’ release, the BSM’s then president Lee Min Choon said in April that BSM would move its headquarters to the federal government-ruled Kuala Lumpur to get “better protection” and avoid future bible seizures.

The Attorney-General said last June that the bibles, which were seized during Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s administration, were not controlled items and did not constitute a national security issue.

Despite Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Cabinet issuing a 10-point solution in 2011 that allowed the distribution of Christian bibles in the Malay, Indonesian and indigenous languages, a Sabahan Christian’s religious compact discs (CDs) and books were confiscated last month at the second Kuala Lumpur International Airport (klia2).

After the Christian materials were returned to the Sabahan last week, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said Putrajaya will draw up new guidelines to ensure Christian materials destined for Sabah and Sarawak are no longer wrongfully seized.

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