PUTRAJAYA, May 10 — The Selangor State Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had the right to investigate the Ahmadiyya community and call them to the state’s Syariah Court as some of them are identified as Muslims in their national registration identification card (IC).
At the Court of Appeal today, Selangor state Legal Adviser Datuk Masri Mohd Daud argued that there were reasonable grounds for the arrest of 39 Ahmadis including eight Pakistani asylum seekers, two Indian nationals, one Indonesian and three minors in 2014.
“Issue now is this; there is reasonable ground for the raiding officer in our case here to arrest them because according to their IC it is stated there the word ‘Islam’. We are saying Islam here, they (Jais) have the power or jurisdiction over you to investigate.
“Whether you are Ahmadiyya or not yet, it needs to be investigated first. You don’t stop the investigation. Our contention is that we have no idea whether you are Ahmadiyya on that very day. We have no idea, no knowledge about it.
“They should allow the investigation first, because based on your IC, you are a Muslim,” Masri told reporters after the hearing by Justices Datuk Badariah Sahamid, Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin.
On April 11, 2014 Jais had raided a shoplot in Dolomite Park in Batu Caves, Selangor and accused the group of performing Friday prayers in a place that was not a mosque, contrary to Section 97 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003.
The Ahmadis, who are derogatorily called Qadianis here, adhere to the same beliefs as the Sunni branch of Islam, but also believe that their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the Imam Mahdi, Islam’s prophesied redeemer.
In a judicial review in July last year, Justice Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera declared at the High Court in Shah Alam that Jais has no rights to stop the community from worship, nor to charge them with Shariah offences.
He also ruled that the Syariah Court has no jurisdiction over members of the Ahmadiyya community, as the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) has refused to recognise the Muslim sect as adherents.
However, Jais had filed an appeal against the decision.
Masri also argued that the High Court judge had no power to declare anyone as apostates as the Selangor Enactment has a specific law to deal with the issue.
“The High Court Judge has no power to declare them as apostate because we have a specific law under Selangor’s enactment which is Section 61 of the Selangor Enactment Act — Administration of the Religion Islam.
“In Selangor, only the Shariah High Court can decide if someone is an apostate. If there is any loophole here, a judicial review may be invited to look into it,” he explained.
During the hearing, the Ahmadis’ legal counsel Aston Phillip Paiva had argued that even though the community consider themselves Muslims, the Selangor state through a fatwa had already excommunicated them and considered them to be non-Muslims.
Therefore, Jais and the Selangor Shariah Court have no jurisdiction over the community and they should not be charged.
Masri pointed out to the court that officially, no charges have been made against any of the 39 who were arrested. They were merely accused and were asked to present themselves at the Syariah Court, which they did not comply.
The three-man panel said they will make a decision in about one month’s time but did not specify the date.