Thursday, November 02, 2006

Here goes the religious police

Couple in khalwat raid may drop second home plan
By SIRA HABIBU
Saturday October 28, 2006

LANGKAWI: Retired American policeman Randal Barnhart, who was subjected to a 2am raid by religious enforcement officers, is reconsidering his plan to make Malaysia his second home.
“After that unpleasant episode two weeks ago, I do not feel like making Malaysia my second home. It is a pity because both my wife and I really love Langkawi,” he said.
On Oct 12, Barnhart, 62, and his wife Carole, 61, were in their rented condominium in Kuah when enforcement officers continuously knocked on their door at 2am, accusing them of committing khalwat (close proximity).
He said the officers demanded to see his marriage certificate, although he had told them that they were Christians and should not be subjected to Islamic law.

HAPPIER TIMES: Barnhart and his wife Carole posing for a picture during an outing. They felt humiliated by the raid by religious enforcement officers in Langkawi recently.“We find it difficult to forget the unpleasant episode. My wife was so terrified by the incident that she fears sleeping in that condominium,” he added.
Banhart said the officers were rude and insisted on “seeing the woman” when he opened the door.
“My wife had to show herself despite only having a sarong on at that time. We felt humiliated for being treated this way,” he said.
He said he had to send his wife back to the United States on the next available flight because she feared people might return to the condominium to terrify her in the middle of the night.
She flew home on Wednesday.
“I want the religious department to apologise to me and my wife in writing,” he added.
“I also want the department to compensate the RM4,315 I had to pay for the return ticket so that my wife could go home.”
Banhart said he would be sailing to Thailand once his yacht was repaired.
State Religious and Humanity Development Committee chairman Professor Datuk Wira Dr Othman Ishak said he would investigate the matter.
“I was not aware of this case. I will ask the Religious Department head. We will get feedback from the vice-prevention squad in Langkawi before making comments,” he said.
Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said he would check with the state Religious Department to find out what really happened.
“I was not informed about this case. I will find out what really happened before making any comment,” he said.

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