Freedom of Religion

Are we truly living in a free land? Yes! Except for the freedom of religion. Especially if you're born a Malay which automatically turns you into a Muslim. How can that be? Can't they choose who they want to follow? Afterall this is test of true faith.

At the sound of Lina Joy's case, I already knew there is no way she is going to get approval for renouncing her faith. And I was right. I am sure many people as well. So the best way is to flee from this country and be whatever you want in free-er land. Like OZ

But today this mail came to me and I feel it is really sad, And they are not even Muslim.

Subject: Church Torn Down Jun 12, 07 3:45pm

A pastor is crying foul over the demolition of a church in an Orang Asli settlement in Gua Musang, Kelantan on June 4.

According to Moses Soo, the Orang Asli community in Kampung Jias had embraced Christianity in February and wanted to erect a small church to mark their faith.

After consulting the Village Development and Security Committee and the Department of Orang Asli Affairs, they proceeded with the construction with the help of volunteers and donations.

Following this, Soo claimed that on several occasions, people from religious groups came to the site uninvited and took photographs of the construction and those involved in the work.

"They came in cars that had car plates indicating they belonged to Islamic religious groups. They looked scary and tough, but the villagers refused to stop work even though they were afraid of the people who came," he told malaysiakini today.

On April 11, the Gua Musang district land office issued a stop work order. The letter stated that the construction was being carried out on state land without permission from the authorities.

The following day, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia (NECF), in a letter to the land office, said the land belonged to the Orang Asli villagers.

"Their right is guaranteed under Section 2 6(1) and 7(1) of the Orang Asli Act 1954," read the letter signed by NECF secretary-general Reverend Wong Kim Kong.

Copies of the letter were sent to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail.

Intimidation tactics

Soo said work on the church continued but the land office slapped them with another stop work order on April 19.

Five days later, the pastor claimed, several policemen had asked him to follow them to the police station without providing any reason.

"Three police officers stopped me while on my way to Gua Musang at about 11am. They demanded for my IC (identity card), which I obliged afer seeing the officers' identification.

"They insisted without reason that I should follow them back to the police station, which I declined as I was heading back to Kuala Lumpur to celebrate my wife's birthday," Soo recounted.

When he refused to follow them, Soo claimed that he was tailed by the policemen for several minutes.

He told malaysiakini that this was an attempt to "intimidate" him. He said the policemen then went to the village and took down the IC numbers of the volunteers involved in the building of the church.

On May 24, the land office issued a third notice informing the village headman Pedik Busu that the "illegal" structure would be demolished.

Soo said despite various efforts to block the demolishment, the church was finally torn down by bulldozers.

The pastor claimed that since the land belongs to the Orang Asli, the district land office did not have any right to reduce the church to rubble.

According to him, the land belonged to the headman of Kampung Jias but was donated to the community for the purpose of building the church.

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