Islam before all else, Muslims told in crackdown on minority beliefs

Zurairi AR, MM

Seeing religious attacks in the freedom of expression by non-Muslims nationwide, Muslim Malaysians were called to put their faith above all other considerations, the country’s paramount guardian of Islam warned in its Friday sermon.

The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) also reminded Muslims of the sacrifice of heroes who had fought for the sake of the Malay race and Islam in the sermon, which is available on its website.

“Muslims these days seemed to have lost direction and guidance to differentiate what is right and what is wrong, what is fake and what is real. This is the result of the mind and perception games run by our enemies to confuse Muslims.

“Believe it, the moment Muslims lose their belief, their guidance brittle, and lose their sensitivity towards Islam, that will be the moment enemies of Islam have waited for,” the sermon said, without elaborating on the identity of its “enemies”.

The sermon accused these “enemies” of using “new innovations” such as the mass media, Internet, Facebook, emails, and text messages to spread lies, cultural pollution, and poison the faith of Muslims.

“The insults towards Muslims are continuous, like mocking the exclusive rights of the community such as the ‘Allah’ word, mosque and so on. Mocking Muslims’ practices such as serving a dish made from a haram (forbidden) animal and, even worse, insults against the Prophet Muhammad,” the sermon added.

The recent spotlight on Islamic decrees by Malaysian authorities on its followers as well as on non-Muslims has led to heated debate over their enforcement here, with some groups deeming certain provisions under religious law to be regressive while others have voiced concern over a worrying trend of overt Islamisation in a multicultural country.

Yesterday, a painting by artist Anurendra Jegadeva, popularly known as J. Anu, was denounced by some pro-Umno bloggers who accused it of “insulting Islam”, resulting in a police report against him.

A surau in a Johor resort was demolished by its management yesterday after it was used by Buddhist visitors in a religious ceremony earlier this month.

The decision has been criticised by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who pointed out that Muslims have been allowed to pray in a church in Malacca’s Terendak army camp during the British rule.

“This church has now, if I am not mistaken, become a mosque for Malay soldiers,” the 88-year-old said in his blog yesterday.

Last week, the local Catholic Church had failed to strike out Putrajaya’s appeal against the 2009 landmark High Court ruling that upheld Christians’ right to refer to God as “Allah”.

Muslim activists have since alleged a global Christian evangelical conspiracy behind the “Allah” row, as they described a clandestine agenda to colonise Islamic souls and countries.

An official sermon for the Aidilfitri celebration early this month had also warned Muslims nationwide against a conspiracy by “enemies of Islam” to manipulate them through ideas like secularism, pluralism, socialism, feminism and positivism.

The warning cames amid several controversial decisions by Jakim in the last few weeks against individuals which it deemed had “insulted Islam”, including a non-Muslim blogger couple, four Muslim beauty pageant hopefuls and a Muslim dog trainer.

Four Muslim women were dropped as contestants in the Miss Malaysia World 2013 pageant last month and are now under investigation for allegedly breaching the National Fatwa Council’s edict and allegedly insulting Islam.

Meanwhile, in a 105-second video reposted on YouTube, dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof is seen walking and bathing her three dogs as the “Takbir Raya”, or Muslim call to prayer traditionally reserved for the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, plays in the background.

Maznah has since been arrested and was released from remand in Johor on a court bond.

Maznah’s arrest comes after sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee were charged recently under the Penal Code and Sedition Act for posting a mock “Selamat Berbuka Puasa” (breaking of fast) greeting on their Facebook page that showed them eating “bak kut teh”, a soupy pork dish. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork.