Jakim must draw up guidelines for Net users, says ex-mufti

(NST) – The Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) must come up with a set of guidelines for Muslims when attending religious celebrations of the other races.

Former Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said there was a difference between attending a religious function and participating in it.

  “The guidelines will put a stop to controversies that arise when Muslims attend religious celebrations of other races.

  “If we say Muslims cannot attend religious celebrations of other races, then are we going to question the Muslim policemen on duty in temple premises during Thaipusam?”

  Asri said this during a gathering of ulama and Islamic intellectuals, near here, yesterday.

  He also said the misuse of the Internet among Muslims was not acceptable.

  “It is high time  proper guidelines were put in place as many people have chosen to use the cyberspace to express their views and feelings openly.”

  Asri said the guidelines would make it easier for Muslims to practise their freedom of speech online, without swaying from the religious teachings.

  “There should be  guidelines to assist Muslims in using the Internet without going against  religious teachings.”   

  He also pointed out that some people resorted to posting defamatory statements about others online based on hearsay.  

  This, he added, was wrong in Islam.

  “It is against Islam to make false accusations. How do we know if a photograph of a couple posted online shows they are committing adultery?

  “Yet, many Muslims have distributed such information online.”
  Asri said religious leaders should not misuse fatwa to gain political mileage.

  “Religion should be free from politics. Religion can be dangerous when used as a political or writer’s weapon.”