Bruneians react to mosque thefts

National 2 minutes, 41 seconds


PRAYING can help Muslims stay away from committing sins, including the recent mosque break-ins, a mosque congregant said.

Hamid Hj Jamaluddin yesterday said there were many reasons why Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) prays every day and calls upon Muslims to follow suit.

“(Performing our) prayers can help us (stray away) from doing things that are detrimental and less beneficial,” the 23-year-old told The Brunei Times yesterday.

The undergraduate student from Universiti Brunei Darussalam believed that there was a link between the motivations of the crime and people who have “too much time” on their hands.

“By fulfilling our prayers, it takes a portion of our time, thus we have less time meaning less chance for us to do things that Allah forbids,” said Hamid, who performed his Friday prayers at Kampung Mata-Mata Mosque yesterday.

“If (our) time is limited, if we are too occupied by work or studies, then (we realise) the importance of the precious time we have, thus we try to do as much good as we can with that time,” he added.

The Friday sermon yesterday placed emphasis on the 15 mosque break-ins recently, saying that the crimes were regrettable, especially when the collection of donations for orphans was stolen.

A Royal Brunei Police Force spokesperson said the sermon yesterday played an influential role in promoting public awareness on the mosque theft cases.

“The sermon can offer better awareness to the community on the magnitude of the theft,” he said.

For Hamid, he hoped the Friday sermon can make others realise even more the magnitude of the crime.

“Committing one sin alone is already difficult to repent, but multiple counts of it is frightening and (in this case) one of stealing, (another) from a mosque, third taking away rights of the orphans,” he said.

To resolve the situation, he suggested the installation of alarm systems in mosques.

“Perhaps there can be an alarm system that sounds a siren if a door or window was broken into from the mosque speaker,” he said.

“This may sound costly but considering the (increasing) seriousness of the issue, it may be worth it,” Hamid explained.

Meanwhile, netizens speculated various reasons that led to the mosque break-ins.

Posting on the Brunei Times website, a netizen with the username afewcent called for a deeper understanding because these acts of crime reflected the desperation of some people within the country.

“I think we need to question the society that we live in where there are people living here who are so desperate that they are willing to steal from a place of worship,” afewcent stated.

“They seem in dire need of counselling and not just reprimands,” the netizen added.

Another netizen, Put-in-perspective, expressed concern that the three suspects caught at Kampung Beribi Mosque yesterday were locals.

On the other hand, solaireofastora believed that the safety deposit box in the mosque itself is the main problem as it exposes itself as a target.

“This is what happens when you actually store money in a single location and people know about it,” the netizen said.

“Shops in other countries specifically put up a sign that say no cash kept on premises to prevent these kind of situations,” the netizen added.

The Brunei Times