Many Muslims don’t respect Sultan, says Jakim

By Shannon Teoh,The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — The federal Islamic development agency claimed today that many Muslim do not respect the authority of the Malay Rulers who are heads of religions for their respective states.

On the eve of a planned gathering of a million Muslims to defend the faith, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) prepared a Friday sermon that accused some parties of putting political interests ahead of the religion.

“Many Muslims today do not respect the views and authority and in fact question the Sultan heads of the Islamic religious councils.

“The sanctity of the faith has been politicised and the split among Muslims has affected the function and role of the councils,” said the sermon titled “State Islamic religious councils drive the transformation of the faithful”.

The sermon added that the councils are looked down on and seen to be mere government agencies, causing their authority over religious matters to be ignored.

Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari was suspended by the International Islamic University (IIU) this week as police investigate allegations that he had disrespected the Selangor Sultan.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had decreed recently that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had found evidence of proselytisation by non-Muslims during a dinner held at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on August 3 but said it was insufficient for further legal action.

Abdul Aziz had said the intervention was “unusual and inconsistent” and should have been done in line with Islamic teachings, causing a furore in Parliament among Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs who urged that action be taken against the law professor.

Although a police report has been lodged against him, the outspoken academician has decided against apologising for his remarks, insisting he had not meant to challenge the Sultan.

The sermon said the erosion of Islam’s dignity “cannot happen without being implicitly planned.”

The Himpunan Sejuta Umat (Himpun), or Gathering of a Million Faithful, is being organised by various right-wing groups such as Perkasa to rally Muslims against the “challenge of Christianisation” on the back of alleged proselytising by Christians.