PETALING JAYA: Perlis activist Amri Che Mat’s abduction was recently linked to allegations that he had in the past, attempted to spread the teachings of Shia.
His wife, Norhayati Ariffin, drew a parallel to allegations surrounding another abducted activist, Pastor Raymond Koh.
Koh had been accused of proselytising Muslims, following a raid by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) at a thanksgiving dinner in 2011.
Whether these allegation were true or false, they shouldn’t be a reason to silence these individuals through illegal means, Norhayati said.
She added that even if it was true that her husband was a Shia, the authorities should provide proof to back their claim.
“If they say my husband is a Shia, where is the proof? Why they (the authorities) never came and questioned him? Even the police never came to our house,” she told FMT.
Amri, 44, is a co-founder of charity organisation Perlis Hope. The organisation which is based in Amri’s house has been linked to Shia, a sect which the National Fatwa Council has deemed as deviationist and thus, is “haram” (forbidden).
“There are also those who claimed that Perlis Hope is a terrorist (pengganas) organisation. But just come to our house, or Perlis Hope’s office, and take a look at our accounts.
“We keep a record of all our activities because Perlis Hope is a registered organisation. We receive donations for our activities, even as small as RM3,” she said, reiterating that Amri was not Shia.
This was affirmed by Perlis Hope’s spokesperson Mahmud Al-Kaf, who also told FMT if the authorities have proof that Amri was a Shia, then they should take him to court.
Norhayati agreed, saying, “This country allows the freedom to practice one’s religion. And if the Muslims’ faith in their religion is strong, then they wouldn’t be easily influenced by the teachings of others.”
Amri, a foreign exchange trader and social activist was abducted at Bukit Chabang, Perlis on Nov 24 last year.
Norhayati had reportedly said that witnesses saw five vehicles blocking the path of Amri’s car before he was taken away just 550 metres from their home.
His black four-wheel drive was found later near Perlis’ Timah Tasoh Dam with the windscreen smashed.
In a conversation with FMT today, Norhayati questioned the authorities’ silence over her husband’s abduction, and their inability to uncover a single clue in the past four and a half months.
“They (the police) never contacted us to provide an update. I called them several times in the early days of Amri’s disappearance, but they kept telling me that they had no lead on the case.
“After a while, I gave up on them, and now, my family’s representative is the one communicating with the police. But the answers are always the same.
“I don’t understand how they can’t trace him. There were witnesses but they were never called in for questioning. Some witnesses I spoke to said they had seen a car monitoring my house for over a week.
“There are restaurants, convenience stores, and a workshop in the area, where the abductors might have visited.”
The mother of four also expressed fear for her family’s safety, and said that she had told the police of her concern.
But according to Norhayati, the police told her they had no plans to set up a road block around her neighbourhood, or monitor her house for a while to make sure no one would come for her or her children.
“The police could at least patrol the area. It doesn’t take that much work to just have a car patrolling the neighbourhood.
“Sometimes I’m scared to go out, or to send my children for tuition at night. But I have no choice. I have to be strong.”