Rival groups fight during Friday prayers


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 24 May 2003

By FREDERICK FERNANDEZ

SHAH ALAM: Rival groups went for each other following an incident that saw the congregation splitting between two imams during Friday prayers at a mosque here. 

An officer from the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) was injured while two worshippers were detained when policemen from the Light Strike Force moved in at about 2.30pm to stop the ruckus at the Al-Munawara Mosque in Section 27. 

Shah Alam OCPD Asst Comm Shukri Dahlan said the police were investigating the incident. 

It is learnt that the trouble started after a group of worshippers walked out of the mosque while the imam appointed by Jais was presenting his sermon from the pulpit. 

A group of about 200 people, apparently not happy with the text of the sermon, walked out and once outside, repeatedly chanted the takbir (Allahu Akbar) in raised voices, thus disturbing some 1,000 others who remained in the mosque. 

The imam, on finishing the sermon, led those who remained in the hall in performing the congregational prayers.  

However, as soon as the session was over, the other group moved in, escorting an imam of their choice to lead them in another session of prayers. 

At the end of the prayers, harsh words were exchanged between Jais officers and the followers of the “second imam,” leading to jostling and scuffles among them. At the height of the quarrel, a Jais officer was kicked. 

The scene became unruly when Jais officers tried to nab the other imam, who was shielded by his followers and later helped by them to escape in the crowd. 

Police detained two men for allegedly intimidating the police and Jais officers and preventing them from carrying out their duties. 

It is learnt that the rival group's imam headed a previous mosque committee suspended last year and replaced by officers appointed by Jais. The former committee had allegedly not followed the department's directives.  

Jais public relations officer Fakrol Yahaya said the department would take action against the former imam for creating unrest at the mosque. 

“His contract was not renewed last year because he had violated the guidelines laid out by Jais. That was why a new imam was appointed,” he said.  

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