Human rights lawyer at the Bar Council Edmund Bon was alleged to have tweeted that he, too, was involved in the apostasy case, which has turned into a controversy when the Selangor Religious Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS) conducted ‘Ops Akidah’ at the Dream Centre, Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on August 3.
In the alleged twitter message dated August 4, a day after the incident happened, he wrote, “Will try to negotiate with the Selangor government not to oppose our clients right to leave Islam, but it is as if JAIS/MAIS are not under the state government,”
The twitter message was brought to light by blogger Helen Ang in her article, “Maybe it is true some wanted to be apostates.”
The blogger alleged Edmund’s tweet showed he was involved in legal efforts to apostasise the Muslims concerned when he admitted he would negotiate with the Selangor state government so that it would not oppose the rights of his clients to renounce Islam.
“Who is the client referred by Edmund Bon, and was his tweet message related to the 12 Malays questioned by JAIS?” asked the blogger.
According to her, based on the incident there was solid ground for JAIS to launch a check on the premises as it was aimed at ascertaining if there was any truth in allegations that there were Muslims in the programme, and if there were, what was their purpose in being present at a Christian event?
As far as she could see the action taken by JAIS to investigate the presence of Muslims at the premises did not mean the Islamic religious authorities did not allow Muslims to mix with Christians in the alleged charity multiracial dinner, but to find out if it was true the programme was organised as part of efforts to apostasise Muslims.
She said Edmund Bon was once Chairman the Constitutional Law Committee and the Human Rights Committee of the Bar Council. He was also among the founders of the ‘Loyar Burok People Centre.’
According to records Edmund Bon was one of the lawyers in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s defence team when Haji Sulaiman Abdullah was heading it.
Edmund Bon is also a colleague of lawyer Annou Xavier who is representing the DUMC.
This has been confirmed by the pro Anwar news portal, Malaysiakini, which reported that Annou Xavier was a lawyer for DUMC’s Dream Centre.
Excerpt of JAIS report on ‘Ops Akidah’: “…upon arriving at the location, it was found that the layout of the complex was more like a community centre with the name ‘Dream Centre’ placed attractively, while the words ‘Damansara Utama Methodist Church’ in smaller letters were placed right below, making it quite illegible when viewed at night.”
According to blogger ‘screwkuat,’ lawyer Annou Xavier was the mastermind who made sure that the 12 individuals did not attend the questioning session at JAIS.
The blogger added that apostasisation activities in Selangor is protected and masterminded by senior EXCO, Teresa Kok, who is also Selangor DAP Chairman.
On last August 10, JAIS applied to the Syariah Court for warrants of arrest when the 12 Muslim individuals failed to present themselves to give statements and assist in investigations related to the DUMC check.
This had to be done after all 12 refused to cooperate despite JAIS sending letters and calling each one of them to be present.
It was alleged that the lawyer appointed by DUMC, Lim Heng Seng who represents the group said he was responsible in directing his clients not to give statements to JAIS because the directive was not complete.
Lim questioned whether his clients were called to give statements or to attend a counseling session.
What the lawyer did was as though he was giving a signal to the group of Muslims that it was the right of DUMC and henceforth not governed by the Islamic syariah laws.
Lim Heng Seng is a compatriot of Annou Xavier, who represented Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, the woman Christian activist who challenged the decision of Home Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar in 2008 over the seizure of compact discs containing the word ‘Allah.”
Her lawyers were Annou Xavier and Lim Heng Seng, who severally brought up three questions relating to the Christian CDs containing the word “Allah.” They asked in what way the CDs were a threat to national security; how it transgressed the rules and guidelines of the Malaysian Islamic Affairs Department (JAKIM) and how the word Allah could cause confusion, considering that it had been used widely by non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak since the 17th century?
On last August 3, 13 JAIS enforcement officers accompanied by a team of police officers from Petaling Jaya conducted a check on the complex, which was suspected to be operating as a community centre and church at Hall 3 of the Dream Centre, Jalan 13/1, Section 13, 46700 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
According to the blog ‘mymassa,’ DUMC is a Protestant church headed by Reverend Daniel Ho. It was registered on May 23, 2007 and was built on the site of a former factory acquired by five Christian owners and turned into a church.
DUMC was the location of the forum on ‘The Election Laws, Election Commission and Electoral Reform’ organised by the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) and opposition parties.
Several opposition leaders have been seen attending Sunday Mass at the church on August 7. They include Lim Guan Eng, Teresa Kok and Hannah Yeo.
The check by JAIS on DUMC on August 3 was made following a tip off claiming there had been Muslim guests at the breaking of fast event at the church which was named “Thanksgiving Dinner.”
The check was made under Section 10 of the Selangor Criminal Offences Enactment, 1995 for insulting Islam.
Follow up investigations will also be made under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988, which is enforceable on non-Muslims and Muslims.
It was reported that the Thanksgiving Dinner was suspected to have been organised to welcome the conversion of some of the Muslim individuals into Christianity, and was alleged to be an overt act of insulting and humiliating Islam on the pretext of having a breaking of fast event.
During the check by JAIS, a woman in the group wearing a tag with the word ‘Sophia written on it admitted being the organiser of the programme. She spoke in English and disputed the authority of the JAIS officers to investigate private premises.
It was reported she denied having Muslims in the programme, and when asked what her religion was, she said “I believe in God” and refused to admit being a Muslim although her identity card indicated her being a Malay and Muslim.
After checking her identity card, it was found that her name was Nadeane binti Che Mohd Salleh, 32 years with her home address in Kuala Lumpur’s Taman Seputeh.
The blog ‘screwkuat’ reported that “Nadeane, who was wearing the tag with the name ‘Sophia’, was the programme organiser.