Ex-Perlis mufti Asri backs Bersih’s intentions

Jun 22, 11

Former Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said after hearing and evaluating the briefing given by the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih), he found its intentions to be good.

Asri said he had been swarmed with questions over the Bersih campaign and for him to take a stand on the issue of demands for just elections.

He explained that any life dealings should be assessed in two ways: its purpose and method.

“If the purpose and the method used is good then it would be considered a good practice. If it is meant well, but the method deployed is wrong, it’s like theft for the purpose of giving charity, it is deemed wrong. If the purpose is wrong or is a sin, then any move towards it would be considered likewise.

“Any individuals who participate in the activity must ensure its purpose is halal and noble and the method deployed is also halal,” he said.

After hearing Bersih’s briefing, Asri said he found its intentions are good, that is to claim the rights which should be accorded to the rakyat or people as promised in the constitution.

If the demands are successful, the former Perlis mufti said it would not only help alleviate the problems faced by political parties in seeking a just campaign but also improve the way we embark on politics without having a notion of where the party is from.

“I do not dispute Bersih’s noble intentions. However, I am worried if a certain political party’s agenda is realised and not the rakyat’s aspirations in general. Whereas the demands are good to ensure justice in managing elections,” he said.

As to holding a rally, Asri said in principle it is required unless it is accompanied by haram actions like destroying public property, fights and actions leading to bad behaviour.

Citing Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, Asri said street demonstrations to protest transgression can be held.

“In today’s context, peaceful demonstrations to prevent political misbehaviour could be held as it has been successful in many countries.

“However, demonstrations would be open to dangers and causing chaos and they should be used as a last resort if the demands for justice are not met,” he added.

‘Discussion and negotiation are preferred’

“Discussion, negotiation or writing in protest are preferred. I understand all this had been done and the Election Commission should adhere to these demands to prevent the people from going to the streets which would result in untoward eventualities,” he said.

He warned that if the EC fails to adhere to the demands, it is the rakyat’s right to demand them peacefully.

“A peaceful rally is an important pre-condition and if it turns violent then it becomes haram. Those who want to attend the Bersih rally must work towards ensuring that they do not destroy public property, injure someone or shout vulgarities at anyone but only shout their demands and slogans to show their dissatisfaction,” he said.

“It is haram for the demonstrators or the police to provoke anyone, resulting in riots. The police should also realise that the demands are good for the country and not only for the betterment of the people but also the police.

“The demonstrators should realise the police are out to ensure peace and there should not be any provocation,” he warned, adding that those who provoke would be considered to have sinned.

  1. #1 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 23 June 2011 - 1:19 am

    If Bersih’s intentions were good and halal then does it not follow that the intentions of those who oppose Bersih will become haram???

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