Hands off Islamic rituals, Muslim NGOs tell faith council

(The Malaysian Insider) – Three Muslim groups cautioned the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) against interfering in Islamic matters after the national faith council questioned the slaughter of cows in school grounds for Aidil Adha.

Last Friday, the non-Muslim faith council called on the authorities to end the ritualistic sacrifice of cows in school grounds and institutes of higher learning, saying such public spaces were unsuitable for a ceremony that was observed by only one community.

“MCCBCHST should appreciate Muslims’ tolerance and not interfere in the affairs of other religions,” Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim) and Persatuan Ulama Malaysia (PUM) said in a joint-statement today.

“MCCBCHST should also co-operate as Muslims co-operate with followers of other religions, such as when Hindus celebrate Thaipusam, the Chinese celebrate the lantern festival, the Taoists celebrate the hungry ghost festival,” they added.

The trio advised the non-Muslim faith council to follow the examples of their peers in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia and not to raise “trivial matters that shamed society here”.

But the MCCBCHST said the activity ignored the sensitivity of Malaysia’s multiracial and multicultural student population, and warned it could “escalate into something undesirable in the future”.

Aidil Adha, also called Hari Raya Korban locally, is among the biggest religious events celebrated by Muslims worldwide. It marks the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to Allah.

Frequently, livestock such as goats and cows are sacrificed during the festival to commemorate the animals Allah provided for Ibrahim to give up in place of Ismail.

But Hindus regard the cow as a sacred animal.