PAS: Friday sermon an attempt to spread religious hatred

Md Izwan, The Malaysian Insider

Several PAS leaders have blasted Malaysia’s Islamic authorities for allegedly stoking religious hatred during yesterday’s Friday prayers for Muslim by calling labeling those who insist on using “Allah” to describe their God as “enemies of Islam”.

According to the few leaders contacted by The Malaysian Insider, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which had prepared the sermon, had failed to portray Islam as a religion od peace and understanding, and had instead shown intolerance.

“Jakim’s move was an attempt to incite the sentiment of hatred towards the Christians.

“This attitude is inappropriate and irresponsible,” Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said.

In Jakim’s Friday sermon yesterday, the religious authority had warned Muslims nationwide of attempts by “enemies of Islam” to confuse them into believing that all religions are the same.

Muslims here were also told that being too open-minded and allowing Islamic rights to be abused by other religions was a “dangerous” act.

“It is very clear that today, enemies of Islam are seeking to divert and undermine the Muslim community’s faith.

“They are united among themselves and are attempting, with their many tricks and ways, to stake their claim on the usage of ‘Allah’ in their scriptures,” the sermon said.

Jakim insisted that “Allah”, a word that millions of Arab Christians and those in non-Arabic-speaking lands use to describe their God, belongs to Muslims and is an exclusive right to those who profess Islam as it is clearly to prevent Muslims from becoming confused, doubtful and mistaken over the true identity of the Muslim God.

Citing an unnamed academic research, Jakim said that the word “Allah” was never found in the Bible as God, to these users of the holy book, exists in the Trinity concept as “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The general term for the Holy Trinity, said the religious department, is “The Lord”.

As such, Jakim insisted that the National Fatwa Council’s 2008 decision on the matter was accurate in stating that “Allah” cannot be used by those of other religions and cannot be likened to the Gods of others.

The authority also warned that painful punishment would await disbelievers in the afterlife, noting that these “symptoms” if Islam’s collapse would only destroy the glory and prestige of Muslims here.

But Khalid said Jakim had not furnished proof to back its claims and was merely pointing fingers to drive a deeper wedge between the country’s Muslims and Christians.

“But why speak ill of the Christians, not all of them are bad. In fact, Islam is no advocate of this prejudiced behaviour to those of other faiths,” he added.

Instead, the lawmaker accused Jakim of being the reason why some Muslims are confused over their religious beliefs, arguing that the authority had failed to strengthen the faith of Muslims here.

He said if Jakim believed that the faith of Muslim here has weakened, it should have used the sermon to differentiate between Islamic and Christian teachings, instead of condemning followers of the latter faith.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub agreed with his party colleague’s views, adding that JAKIM had become Barisan Nasional’s (BN) tool to flare hatred at a time when religions tension was already at a high.

“I’d like to ask, what is Jakim’s role and responsibility when preaching to Muslims?

“Jakim has become BN’s tool… in fact, they had also twisted he statement made by the PAS Syura Council earlier this month,” he added.