Bellicose Islamic leaders might destroy Malaysia, warns Zaid 

(The Malay Mail) – Hardline Islamic leaders seeking to punish Shia Muslims might “destroy the country”, former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said yesterday as state religious authorities move to enforce laws that forbid the teachings of denominations other than the mainstream Sunni.

In a series of scathing posts on Twitter, Zaid lashed out at the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) for its crackdown of followers of the Shia school of jurisprudence that the former de facto law minister compared to the intra-faith conflict raging among the Arab nations.

“Are the Syiah Muslim? Obviously they are otherwise Jakim would not be interested in them,” he said in a posting on his Twitter handle @zaidibrahim.

“So if you are Muslim but not of the variety accepted by Jakim you get punished… If this is not stupidity what is?” he added.

Shia ― also spelled as Syiah locally ― is Islam’s second largest denomination after Sunni, the latter of which is widely practised in Malaysia and is the only one recognised by JAKIM.

The National Fatwa Council had issued an edict on May 5, 1996 banning the belief on the grounds that it would split Muslims in the country.

But the issue resurfaced in public discourse recently after Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir pushed for an anti-Shia fatwa to be gazetted in the state to curb the spread of the Shia belief in the country.

The Home Ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Mohamad Radzi was reported by Malay daily Utusan Malaysia as saying today that 10 states had gazetted anti-Shia laws that went against the Sunnah Wal Jamaah jurisprudence.

According to Abdul Rahim, Pahang, Kelantan, Sabah dan Sarawak were in the process gazetting the anti-Shia legislation.

The senior officer also said there were some 250,000 Shia followers in the country and added that the home ministry was keeping a close eye on them for possible militant activity.

In his latest Twitter tirade, the founder of Malaysia’s largest law firm, Zaid Ibrahim & Co ― which he has since sold off ― continued to hit out at the country’s leading Islamic authority for trying to drive a wedge among Muslims.

“Just because the Arabs partake in Syiah-Sunni warfare doesnt mean we have to follow. Do we want those killings in this great country?” he asked.

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