Thursday, December 16, 2010

Perlis Mufti raps Umno-linked scholars for promoting ‘Taliban’ culture

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 - Perlis mufti Dr Juanda Jaya took a contrarian view and has lashed out against remarks made by Umno-linked scholars accusing political leaders of promoting pluralism, calling their behaviour excessive, compulsive and like the Taliban”.

The mufti likened their scathing comments on Opposition leaders like Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Kelantan Mentri besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat as reminiscent of the Talibans in Afghanistan, which he claimed posed a “danger” to Malaysia’s multi-racial and multi-religious harmony.

“I am disappointed with online media reports which have quoted statements made by several individuals who were presenting a paper in a seminar concerning the issue of pluralism. Yes, pluralism is a threat to Islam, but making exaggerated and excessive comments labelling several political leaders as followers of pluralism is very dangerous to the harmony of a multi-religious Malaysia.

“This ala-Taliban culture is against the practice of Malaysians who have long lived in harmony and mutual respect,” said Juanda (picture) in a statement today.

Juanda said that the allegations made by several scholars during the seminar against Nik Aziz was “evil”, at the same time stressing that he did not support PAS or any other political party.

“I was very disappointed when a well-known religious figure like Tok Guru Nik Aziz had been connected as practicing pluralism just because he attended a Buddhist function. This is an evil allegation. Tok Guru’s record shows that he has always been consistent in Islamic issues,” the top religious scholar said.

Juanda said that he was worried that there was a growing trend among academics and religious scholars in using the issues of faith to create “tension and rivalry” among politicians, as well as to “confuse” politicians who did not see eye-to-eye with these individuals.

“Their formula will also create a misunderstanding on the Federal Government’s “harmonious” stand on the many religions in Malaysia.

Will they also forsake the government’s policy, and confuse leaders?” he warned.

Scholars at the forum yesterday had accused Anwar of equating Islam with other religions for political mileage, saying that religious pluralism was a threat to Islam and claiming that Anwar was pushing for other religions to be placed on an equal footing with Islam.

The forum was heavily-promoted by Umno’s Utusan Malaysia today in what appears to be a move to suggest that Anwar’s rejection of Umno’s “ketuanan Melayu” concept is unIslamic.

Anwar and other PKR leaders recently spoke up against Umno’s concept of “ketuanan Melayu” as a fraudulent ideology meant to prop up the ruling Malay party.

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