Sunday, January 18, 2015

Criticising Jakim good for Islam, says Muslim preacher

Published: 18 January 2015 10:12 AM
Muslim preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin says criticism against Jakim is healthy. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 18, 2015.

Muslim preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin says criticism against Jakim is healthy. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 18, 2015.
Criticism against the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) is “healthy” and good for Islam’s image, a Muslim preacher who is facing a sedition charge has said, days after human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen was arrested for claiming that the religious authority promoted extremism.
Wan Ji Wan Hussin said the public often equated criticism against Jakim as criticism against Islam, even though the religious body was prone to errors in its interpretation of the religion.
“Hence, criticising Jakim is healthy. This is because it casts a positive image on Islam, as people will understand that the statements issued by Jakim do not necessarily represent Islam.
“At least it will create the understanding that Islam and Jakim are two different things,” said Wan Ji in a statement yesterday.
Wan Ji added that Jakim itself had often tarnished Islam’s image through its actions, including declaring touching dogs was haram (prohibited) in the wake of the popular ‘I want to touch a dog’ event last October.
He said Jakim had also contradicted itself in ruling that Malaysians subscribed to the Shafie school, as the government itself often strayed from it.
“In the Shafie school, zakat fitrah (alms) cannot be given in the form of money, but food that is fulfilling. The practise of paying zakat through money is from the Hanafi school,” said Wan Ji.
He stressed that Jakim should not force Muslims to comply with the majority opinions of religious scholars, as they may eventually change and become minority opinions, citing the initial ban on musical instruments.
“Jakim’s actions in using force to respond to criticism also gives a bad impression of Islam among the non-Muslims,” added Wan Ji.
He urged the religious body to counter criticisms with wisdom instead, noting that the Quran taught Muslims to engage with people through debates and good speech.
On Tuesday, police had arrested Paulsen for allegedly accusing Jakim of spreading extremism through Friday sermons.
Paulsen had tweeted on January 9: “Jakim is promoting extremism every Friday. Govt needs to address that if serious about extremism in Malaysia.”
The tweet was later deleted following an uproar online. Umno Youth Religious Bureau chairman Azmir Yuzaimi Mohd Yunos lodged a police report over Paulsen's allegations.
Wan Ji, meanwhile, had pleaded not guilty after being charged with sedition in September last year for a posting on his Facebook page in November 2012.
The former committee member of the Selangor PAS Ulama wing was charged following his comment which had allegedly insulted the Sultan of Selangor. – January 18, 2015.
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