Politics and religion a tinderbox of tension

Anisah Shukry | January 3, 2014
Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia’s leaders and Islamic scholars are just using Islam to serve their own interests, says former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia would be better off separating religion from politics, rather than using matters of the faith as a tool to crackdown on political dissent, said former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

Weighing in on Harussani Zakaria’s statement that those who protested at the New Year’s Eve anti-hike rally were bughah (traitors), Mohd Asri said he was disgusted at the blatant misuse of religion by “so-called scholars”.

“Religion has been used as a political weapon to the point that an announcement was made permitting the bloodshed of the weak. I’m not asking for separation of religion from politics, because that is not a habit of Islam.

“But at the same time, if religion is merely used as a weapon to serve political interests, it is better for the two to be separated,” the Islamic scholar wrote on his blog drmaza.com yesterday.

Harussani, who is the mufti of Perak, reportedly said yesterday that it was haram (forbidden) for Muslims to participate in the mass protest against the rising cost of living.

“…all the protestors should be arrested for being traitors to the government and accordingly in Islam, bloodshed is permitted on the bughah,” Harussani was quoted by Malay daily Berita Harian.

Similarly, Kelantan mufti Mohammad Shukri Mohamad said activities that upset the peace and security of the country were a violation of the Islamic code.

But going against the grain, Mohd Asri said that while certain quarters may disagree with the protest, it did not justify calling for innocent blood to be shed.

“They are supposedly bughah, and are allowed to be killed. When in fact, bughah is a term that has its own definition and context.

“You cannot label as bughah the people who gather without weapons. In this context, how can these people who pay taxes and follow the country’s laws be called bughah?” he asked.

Double standard

Mohd Asri noted the double standard at play in Malaysia, with Islamic scholars urging the rakyat to be grateful and not be wasteful, yet at the same time neglecting to preach the same to the people in power.

“The question is, are God’s words only aimed at the lower class? While the upper class – whether they be sultans or menteris – are immune to the laws?” he asked.

Mohd Asri said this hypocrisy was also apparent in how opponents of the anti-price hike rally had suddenly kicked up a fuss over the fact that protesters had performed their prayers while still in their shoes.

“It is not a big issue; In fact, Muslims are allowed to pray with their shoes on if their shoes are clean. However, it has become an issue because of political interests.

“How many people attend concerts in the country, and no one knows for sure if they even perform their prayers? This was never an issue for our ‘political scholars’, but now praying in shoes has become an issue.”

Mohd Asri stressed that while combining politics with Islam could have a positive impact and was ordained by Allah and Prophet Muhammad, it could also be disastrous to the religion.

“It all depends on who is in charge of combining religion and politics. His intention will determine the results of combining the two,” said Mohd Asri.

He said that combining politics and religion to solidify one’s political position, as was the case in Malaysia, would only destroy Allah’s name and religion.

“Religion will only become a tool to serve leaders’ interests and every interpretation will have the interests of the politicians’ at heart.”

  1. #1 by bruno on Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 10:45 am

    Desperate politicians are trying desperately to set up a trap for confrontation between the Muslims and Christians.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 11:01 am

    THEY WANT SOMETHING TO HAPPEN as an EXCUSE i.e., to use force/break the law again.

    In the land where there is King Prime Minister, the law is NOT FIRST..

  3. #3 by on cheng on Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 11:02 am

    was no issue from 1957, suddenly become bIG issue, what !

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 11:08 am

    Y Perak mufti NOT charged n locked up?

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 2:32 pm

    Certainly, bad politics/governance n messed-up handling of religions may lead 2 unimaginable n uncontrollable consequences
    星星之火,可以燎原 “Fire, fire, burning bright, cackling, cackling with pure delight”

  6. #6 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 2:52 pm

    This thing is basically a cesspool created by UMNO that basically got so big, they find themselves in it.

    Its true of this issue, its true of their basic programs from the NEP, “transformation”, on Education, on Corruption, GST, Highway toll, Electricity, Water, Proton, immigration in Sabah especially, etc etc..We have their stink on us for so long and the stink just gets bigger until they are in it and then it will get to them and then they won’t know what to do with any of them..

  7. #7 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 3:56 pm

    Masih ada yang waras dan mampu berfikir dengan tenang. Masih ada yang bercakap melalui mulut bukannya lubang dubur.

    Mufti perak 0 : bekas mufti 1

  8. #8 by worldpress on Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 11:17 pm

    Go announce to the world that your A**** IS NOT GOD, your A**** is A****

    GOD is English word called by them for nearly two thousands years

    Make it clearly announce to the world your A**** is A****, not their so called GOD in English

    Problem solved immediately

  9. #9 by good coolie on Tuesday, 7 January 2014 - 10:18 pm

    Is the Bugha-Bugha party the same as the Bunga-Bunga party that Italy’s Berlusconi organised and Ruby the Heart-Stealer attended?

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