At first read, I was wondering why the couple mentioned in the article were charged for sedition and undesired publications. If what was said in the news was true, then there’s no reason to charge the couple – unless giving evangelistic materials to someone of another religion is an offence. Then again… who gives evangelistic materials to someone of the same religion?

So I did a google on it. The closest terms that came up from the article was "The Little Bride". Still, I found nothing except this.

Apparently, this "little bride" article is some work by a guy called Jack Chick, whose past series of evangelical comics and cartoons had been controversial. Mr Wang noted that access to the latter’s materials are banned, so I won’t even attempt it.

Religion is becoming a touchy issue lately again. Actually it’s always been. However with this recent charge, I guess it’s about time people get cautious of what they are distributing. Trust me. Anything can become seditious.

A COUPLE were charged on Tuesday with distributing a seditious publication to two others.

Ong Kian Cheong, 49, and Dorothy Chan Hien Leng, 44, are alleged to have distributed The Little Bride, an evangelistic material, to Sembawang resident Irwan Ariffin last Oct 19.

They are also said to have distributed the same publication to one Madam Farharti Ahmad at her home in Woodlands on March 6 last year .

It is not clear why they face the Sedition Act and the Undesirable Publication Act when the publication is the same.

Ong, who works in a telecommunications company, and his wife, a bank employee, were represented by Mr Selva K. Naidu.

The police prosecutor sought an adjournment of the case pending a Health Sciences Authority on handwriting specimen.

The couple were freed on $10,000 bail each. Their passports were impounded.

The case will be mentioned on April 29.

Under the Sedition Act, the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine and/or a jail term of up to three years.

The maximum penalty under the Undesirable Publication Act is a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to 12 months.

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 15th April 2008



Reader's Comments

  1. Sicarii | April 15th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Interesting… thanks for bringing attention to this, Jean.

  2. Agagooga | April 15th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I could give it to you, but then I’d have to kill you 😉

  3. cobaltpaladin | April 15th, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    But shouldn’t the couple be more sensible and not distribute the evangelistic article to people of Muslim religion? Also, if you have read “The Little Bride”, the material that was being distributed, you would realise the contents are offensive.

  4. hanafi | April 15th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    As a Muslim, I’ve seen “The Little Bride” and know about Jack Chick. He claims that Muslims pray to the moon god and hurled made some insults to Muhammad the prophet of Islam particularly on his youngest wife who was 9 yrs old. Although this may be offensive to Muslims, I do not think anyone should be charged with sedition on this. I trust most Muslims in Singapore know their religion and won’t get ballistic over this kind of rubbish. There should be more open dialogue between faiths in Singapore so that everything can be discussed with openness and mutual understanding.

  5. Joshua Ng | April 15th, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    “hurled made some insults to Muhammad the prophet of Islam particularly on his youngest wife who was 9 yrs old.”

    Hanifa: One of the claims was that Muhammad married and consummated his marriage with a child-bride. Isn’t this true?
    Some other more extreme claims were made, but I won’t repeat them. Suffice to say that each claim made was referenced and can be checked.

    From the bukhari:
    Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64:

    Narrated ‘Aisha:

    that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

    Volume 7, Book 62, Number 65:

    Narrated ‘Aisha:

    that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: I have been informed that ‘Aisha remained with the Prophet for nine years (i.e. till his death).” what you know of the Quran (by heart)’

    Perhaps this is a mistranslation?

  6. cobaltpaladin | April 15th, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Joshua,

    Even if the events stated were true, it happened during a different time (a few hundred years ago), different civilization. We can’t use our current standard to judge.

    Even our Chinese civilisation had some unbelievable practices and culture when viewed in our modern standards.

  7. hanafi | April 15th, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    I agree with cobaltpaladin. At that time, it doesn’t raise an eyebrow if you are married at 9yrs old. Even today, I think some cultures find getting married at 12 is acceptable. Please refer to here…
    http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm

    And the marriage to Aisyah was to strengthen the bond between the prophet and her father, Abu Bakr one of the prophet’s most trusted companion. I believe if wasn’t purely for sex like one would like to think.

  8. Agagooga | April 16th, 2008 at 12:15 am

    hanafi: If only everyone thought like you. Many Christians got ballistic over the Da Vinci code, but we didn’t see it banned.

    Joshua: I would advice you not to post such material. In the Kafkaesque country we live in, even discussing seditious material to critique it could plausibly be classified as sedition.

  9. Joshua Ng | April 16th, 2008 at 9:17 am

    “I would advice you not to post such material. In the Kafkaesque country we live in, even discussing seditious material to critique it could plausibly be classified as sedition.”

    Hanafi and Cobaltpaladin: I think the broader issue is, are moral standards objective or subjective? You seem to say that standards shift with time. In a society where murder was a way of life (for instance), would it be good and right? Some would say yes just to be contrary – but they’d be kidding themselves.

    Agagooga: Kafkaesque, haha, at least you didn’t say Orwellian. At any rate, I don’t see how distributing the inflammatory claims found in the publication would help people know more about Jesus (I’m a Christian).

    Still, it’s sad it’s come to a court case.

  10. hanafi | April 16th, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Joshua, murder is not a good example because it is not acceptable anywhere including Islam. However age of consent (AOC) do change with time and the Quran, Islam’s holy book do not stipulate it. My grandma married at 14 because at that time, she don’t have school to attend. AOC not only change in Singapore but also in other western country too like USA. An example would be the marriage of Jerry Lee Lewis the popular rock and roll star. http://oldies.about.com/od/rockabill1/f/jerryleemyra.htm

  11. Agagooga | April 16th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Actually many religions say it’s okay to murder bad people/those who your god tells you to murder.

    The laws against religious offence in Singapore actually hurt religion, not protect it. But who said laws had to make any sense in the first place?

  12. Daily SG: 17 Apr 2008 « The Singapore Daily | April 17th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    […] Faith, Religion, to each his own – Mr Wang Says So: A Tale of One Jack Chick and Two Religions – For What It’s Worth: keep the faith – Simply Jean: Charged for sedition over evangelistic article? […]

  13. SGDaily Roundup: Week 16 « The Singapore Daily | April 21st, 2008 at 9:55 am

    […] Faith, Religion, to each his own – Mr Wang Says So: A Tale of One Jack Chick and Two Religions – For What It’s Worth: keep the faith – Simply Jean: Charged for sedition over evangelistic article? […]

  14. Rapsodey | April 22nd, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Frankly, we have to pity the muslims. Those who wish out cannot get out, for we all know that their religion prohibits defaction. They get ostracised socially even by their relatives and friends for leaving islam.

    Then again, if non-muslims are prohibited from questioning islam (which by the way is producing the MOST terrorists today amongst all other religions), and muslims themselves are prohibited from questioning islam, while at the same time, islam is passed down from generation to generation without question.

    Then what we have on our hands is a religion that is festering hatred against non-muslims and everyone is strictly warned to STAY CLEAR!. That is not just plain stupid, its plain suicide.

    Well, so much for sensibility. If muslims feel that they are getting insulted when others fault their faith, they should really look deep down inside themselves when they go around telling others that Jesus is not God cos the Christian faith is based on that foundation – that Jesus is God.

    So, we have a religion that has its faith based on trouncing another religion and its all written in black and white in their hadiths and qurans and yet the other faiths are prohibited from counter-challenging.

    I mean I can understand why it is easier to arrest the milder religion than to offend the one that is producing terrorism.

    It all boils down to having the BALLS to stand up for the truth.

  15. Nonamer | April 22nd, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Lucky for us, Singapore practises religious freedom and the order of the civil court surpasses that of the syariah. Can you imagine what will happen if it wasn’t???!

    We would be in deep shit like the malaysians where the muslim who grenade bombed the mongolian model is until today still not convicted, where the indonesian bali bomber can escape death after killing hundreds because the judiciary has a problem reconciling justice with the corrupted teachings of islam that they learnt from young and nothing beats defending a fellow muslim brother who kills non-muslims cos that ever elusive allah awaits to reward the ardent with 72 sexy houri virgins.

    http://www.prophetofdoom.net

    .

  16. hanafi | April 24th, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Rapsodey, I have met Muslims who wants to denounce Islam to Christianity or Atheism and nobody is stopping them in Singapore. Perhaps you are talking about a neigbouring country? Btw. it is rare for a Muslim not to be grateful for being a Muslim. It is also rare for a Muslim to insult other religions or try to convert people to Islam. Sure Islam doesn’t consider Jesus as God but we don’t go around insulting Christians about the absurdity of God Almighty being a mere human. If someone believe that God is Jesus, then would it make that person a Christian? Must everyone be a Christian?

    As for the terrorism part, frankly I am more fearful of meeting a kiasu and rude Singaporean than meeting a fellow Muslim who in my opinion is much nicer than the average Singaporean or its imported talents.

    Nonamer, I don’t see any relation between the Mongolian model murder case or your supporting arguments to this issue. Maybe you should stop using your balls to think.

  17. Nonamer | April 24th, 2008 at 11:08 am

    hanafi, thanks for openly admitting. That’s why we have a problem with the muslims like you. They prefer terrorist muslims than kiasuists. And I don’t think rapsodey is even talking about the government, he’s talking about restrictions within the religion of islam & islamists as a whole.

    Islam doesn’t go around insulting the religion of others? Pleeease, I think you should really ask the chinese from china what they think of muslims after they bombed the giant buddhas in afganistan. Your last statement itself is an insult…to your own faith, whatever that may be.

  18. amy | May 30th, 2009 at 4:03 am

    I think its time to fill up the vacuum of curiosity for both Muslims and Christians. Obviously both sides have too many opinions about each others -this aggravated by the fact that both religions shared too many commonalities. But I suppose it is because of the very fact that they share too much coomon Biblical and Hadis stories that they keep stepping onto each other’s toes.Each proclaiming the other wrong. How about we start proclaiming what both religions agree on instead of focussing on what they disagree on.

    So why not go back to the HISTORY books and learn some.
    How many know both religions Believe in Adam and Eve. To Muslims its Adam and Hawa. Mostly same story about the apple and snake ; the devil.

    Both believe in Abraham/Ibrahim as the father of their religions and both religions gives mush respect to Abraham in their respective books-the Muslims even celebrate Hari Raya Haji-the celebration of the sacrifice to mark Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ismael-Ismail for God.

    Do you know Christianity and Islam and Judaism share the same story of Moses/ Musa and Joseph/Yusoff in their ancient stories? Moses remains most important to the Jews though he is also a highly respected Prophet in Islam and well respected among the Christians.

    Both islam and Christianity acknowledges the existence of Jesus/Prophet Isa to Muslims. While Muslims see Isa/Jesus as sent by God to guide society, Just like how Moses was sent, Christians see Jesus’s role as God himself. This is WHERE the 2 religions diverges.

    Yet, both Christians and Muslims unanimously believe Prophet Isa/Jesus will come back to earth one day to guide the world for one last time before Armageddon/Kiamat strikes.

    There is so much to learn about these 2 amazing religions. I would strongly urge the educated people out there, to put aside egos and opiniond and go read up on the history of these 2 fantastic religions and you will learn so many wonderful things, more that what a religious teacher could or would share.

    Its not fair to either religion or a reflection of mature intellect on any parties to pick on one issue about a religion, say age to marry, and take it totally out of context and argue it this way and that. That is really the work of a trouble maker. For even truth when taken out of context can be very dangerous.

    Let me cite a personal example -my atheist best friend was attending church when we were back in school. I was glad she was looking for God, even if not the God I believe in but I thought better to seek a God than no god at all. I was 16 then. I am not a Christian by the way. But I encouraged her to attend and seek.

    Then one day she shared with me a biblical story which she had read in the bible which brought about a serious moral question to her and she wanted to quit attending church- it was about a father offering his daughter to a traveller or someone like that. She was appalled at the father’s actions and why the bible had not condemned it. She came to me to ask my opinion. And I humbly told her I am in no position to judge, as I do not know enough of the context of the chapter, the practises of the times. Besides its better for her to approach her cell group leader for an answer than for us to discuss and pass a moral judgement with our modern value system, regarding the practise of a society so long ago in an ancient time. Who are we to judge, I asked her? We would do an injustice to a great religion. Today she is a steadfast Christian while I remain steadfast in my own religion.

    I have great respect for both religions and have close friends of both faiths and we all discuss religion in a joyful manner and gets excited to know of so many similiarities rather than focus on minor differences and bicker needlessly.

    Anyway, its funny how people of one religion always assume people of the other religion is crazy and not rational. Fact IS men do listen to rational persuasion – except that irrational things are always framed in rational way- the way Hitler convinced millions of Europeans Christians to do away with the Jews. Surely that act of murder is against the Christian beliefs but can we judge their religion because of that?.

    Today religious conflicts and terrorism have much to do with Western politics in Middle East than religions themselves. Its important everyone knows there is a difference.
    True believers of God, followers of Christianity and Islam will always embrace peace and never war and violence.

  19. Tan | September 5th, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    To learn about all these revealed religion I suggest reading :
    Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason
    downloadable from http://www.deism.com

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