Location and not due to any Fatwa

(Daily Express) – Kota Kinabalu: Minister of Local Government and Housing, Datuk Hajiji Haji Mohd Noor, said the State Government's reason for objecting the building of the Mazu statue has nothing to do with Fatwa but due to the unsuitability of the location.

While noting that there were letters of objections from various organisations, including from Kudat, he said the State Government's objection to the construction of the statue was due to the inappropriate location and not due to any Fatwa purportedly issued by the Fatwa Council.

"Let me make this very clear. This matter has nothing to do with any Fatwa. After careful study, we found the place to be unsuitable," he said in a statement, Saturday.

He pointed out that in the letters forwarded to the Kudat District Council to inform them of the Government's decision, there was no mention of the issuance of Fatwa.

Hajiji also said to his knowledge Fatwa and written law are entirely two different things, adding that a Fatwa is a religious edict, which is not enforceable unless passed as law.

"For example, there are muftis all over the world who have issued Fatwa stating that smoking is 'haram', but today many Muslims still continue to smoke."

Hajiji also said the Fatwas were only applicable to Muslims and, therefore, non-Muslims have no reason to worry as it dealt with the affairs of Muslims.

In this context, he said Parti Keadilan Sabah (PKR) Deputy Chairperson Christmas Liew is interfering in the administration of Islamic rules, which could upset Muslims.

Christina had urged Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman to clarify whether the State Fatwa Council had issued a decree in July declaring building the Mazu (Chinese Goddess of the sea) statue as haram. PKR had earlier lodged a report on the matter.

Hajiji said the State Government strives to maintain religious and racial harmony in Sabah.

Hajiji said to this end, the Government would not tolerate any acts that may jeopardise the stability in the State and would not hesitate to lodge a police report against anyone suspected of doing so.

He said the opposition and those who have their own agenda against the Government should not dupe the people into thinking that there was a problem in the State.

"We are peaceful, harmonious and tolerant. Don't disrupt the stability by pulling wool over the people's eyes."