No fatwa on ‘belligerent infidel’ term used in ‘Utusan’, says minister

By Mohd Farhan Darwis
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 06, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The National Fatwa Council has never issued any fatwa (religious orders) to refer to non-Muslims as “kafir harbi” or belligerent infidels, minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said today, referring to the label some conservative Muslims had used to describe the secular DAP opposition party earlier this year.

The minister in charge of Islamic affairs also said that any statements calling non-Muslims as “kafir harbi” or “kafir zimmi” are merely personal opinions, and added that Muslims are not bound by these personal convictions.

His statement comes just months after Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia reported several Islamic religious scholars as saying that it is “haram” or forbidden for Muslim voters to support the DAP, which they have described as a “belligerent infidel” party.

“Until now, there is no fatwa or legal opinions related to the position of non-Muslims in Malaysia as Kafir Harbi or Kafir Zimmi issued by the state Fatwa Committee, or MKI (National Council for Islamic Affairs Malaysia),” Jamil Khir said in a written reply to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

Legal opinions are only valid and recognised after receiving approval from the states’ Fatwa Committee and the MKI, Jamil said.

“Fatwa and legal opinions in this country can only be issued by the authorities.

“Therefore, any opinion or institutions apart from the two entities cannot be considered as fatwa, but only personal conviction.”

Abdul Hadi, who is also Marang MP, had asked the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department what action would be taken against those who had described certain non-Muslims in Malaysia as “belligerent infidels”.

The PAS leader had also expressed fear that the usage of such terms could affect the existing peace among the different races in the country.

The Malay-Muslim community make up some 60 per cent of Malaysia’s 28 million population.

While Islam is recognised as the religion of the federation, the Federal Constitution protects the rights of citizens to practise freely the religion of their choice.

Jamil Khir said one should not use freedom of speech as grounds to issue statements that can confuse the society, especially Muslims in this country.

“Although the government affirms the principle of freedom of speech and in giving opinions, but matters that are related to religious issues are sensitive issues for Muslims,” he said.

Utusan Malaysia had drawn the opposition pact’s ire for allegedly stoking “religious conflict” after running a controversial report on its front page on August 8 titled “Haram sokong DAP” (Forbidden to support DAP).

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has previously said the Malay broadsheet’s reports were a political campaign by religious extremists to instil disaffection towards Pakatan Rakyat parties, pointing out that the ruling Barisan Nasional, including its mainstay Umno, has previously said it was against carrying out “hudud”, the Islamic penal code that metes out harsh punishment for offenders.

He had said the reports by Utusan were a “campaign by religious extremists to punish the DAP” for not supporting the enforcement of hudud.

The Pahang mufti has also backed a growing campaign among Umno-aligned religious leaders, declaring it forbidden for Muslims to support the DAP after several Islamic scholars called the secular party “kafir harbi” and distinguishing it from the MCA or MIC as parties that have accepted the faith’s supremacy in multireligious Malaysia.

The phrase “kafir harbi” has historically been used to describe non-Muslims who are seen as enemies of Islam, and whose deaths are allowed or justified in a war setting as they are seen to be attempting to kill Muslims.

  1. #1 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 8:48 am

    Its black. Its white.
    Its black. Its white.
    Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

    No. Its gray.
    Huh??!! Yes meh?
    Not black?
    Maybe more black than white?
    So? More white than black?
    But but but. More white or more gray.
    That’s gray!
    Yes meh?
    Whats gray?

    The grand umno logic going in circles. Around umno of course. We are mere spectators outside that ring of twisted logic.

  2. #2 by mickeytiger2006 on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 9:53 am

    Such fatwa is out to terrorising the people. It’s a free election not a communist state as in North Korea.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 10:38 am

    THIS is really why Mahathir calling Malaysia ‘an Islamic state’ and his Islamisation policies is so wrong..They threw away sound foundation this country was founded upon basically because its more convenient, its easier than having to resist a THESIS whose origin are from failed states..

    It simply a colousus intellectual failure – on part of Mahathir. No matter what his legacy is, the fact of proven beyond a shadow of doubt. Mahathir is a intellectually mediocre and committed a colossus failure that is a burden we all have to share..

  4. #4 by cseng on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 10:50 am

    Why people tend to make this world very complicated?

    Buddhism believe that things intended for self-inner-peace and calm, best be kept simple, focus point is ‘self’.

    When it became so complicated and complex, it became a governing system, focus point might be on the ‘system’.

    If everyone has self-religious values, the ‘governing system’ is less valuable, ‘you accountable for your decisions’.

    If religious need a governing system, then ‘self’ values became meaningless, ‘you accountable for their decisions’.

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 10:54 am

    ///The minister in charge of Islamic affairs also said that any statements calling non-Muslims as “kafir harbi” or “kafir zimmi” are merely personal opinions… the National Council has never issued any fatwa (religious orders) to refer to non-Muslims as “kafir harbi” or belligerent infidels…///

    The point is how is extremism to be curbed and moderation promoted (per Ah Jib Gor’s telling the international audience) if the best govt’s response to these derogatory name calling that stokes religious/racial ill will is a mere dismissive description of them as “personal opinions”? Does this mean that extremists are allowed to freely express their “personal opinions” with impunity and free from any form of official disincentive and punishment? (Utusan is an UMNO media! No control over what it says?) If that were the case it becomes a ‘bad cop and good cop’ game with the extremists supportive of the ruling coalition being at liberty to routinely play ‘bad cop’ and try influence and galvanise muslim voters by telling them it is “haram” or forbidden to support the “belligerent infidel” party DAP and the govt. next coming out to play ‘good cop’ to do damage control to avoid alienating too many non muslim votes by saying, “hey that’s their personal opinions only, not the official position that can only be determined by a fatwa from National Fatwa Council”. How clever and convenient!

  6. #6 by artemisios on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 11:30 am

    Islam dalam Bahaya?
    Bahaya Apa? Bahaya Mana?

    Bahaya diperalatkan oleh parti politik tak bertanggungjawab demi kepentingan peribadi. Contohnya situasi di atas. Mulut cakap mahu perjuangkan Islam, tapi tindak tanduk disebaliknya MEMPERALATKAN Islam demi kepentingan politik.

  7. #7 by jus legitimum on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 12:22 pm

    1 Malaysia,my foot.When it serves their wicked and heinous agenda,they will shout the hollow slogan.But when they face their own kind,they forget the hypocritical satu this ,satu that and shamelessly call others kafir harbi.They may hide behind the toilet paper when they accuse non muslims as kafir harbi.The fact is this type of leders should not be allowed to continue to rule the nation otherwise the consequence will be disastrous.Enough is enough.

  8. #8 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 12:43 pm

    Of course islam in malaysia is under serious threat.

    And the threat is coming from islam jenis-umno.

  9. #9 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 12:50 pm

    It is important that lawyers of the Opposition party know the ins and outs of Malaysian laws and the Constitution, lest BN imposes BN-made laws on the rakyat. Recently BN installed the AES vehicle speed tracking system in PR led states. Fortunately PR members knew such installation had violated the law of the state and declared the installation to be illegal. We would have been taken for a ride if PR members had no knowledge of the law of the state.

  10. #10 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 3:52 pm

    Is it me or is the attack on Nurul getting ridiculous? Initially only the usual sycophant started making noises, then top ministers AND now we have their great ass-being-kissed Mahathir joining to spin the the untruth…

    Suddenly they ALL look like Chua Soi Lek and MCA desperation negative campaign that leads them to nowhere…

  11. #11 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 10 November 2012 - 7:12 am

    Is there something wrong about the education when in the 21st century we still hear such thought? And people still react to such appeals based on PURE emotion without engaging the grey matter! indeed the indoctrination process is working wonderfully for UMNO and its supporters.

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