KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato’ Mujahid Rawa continues to suggest he has got the mettle to deal with the ultra-sensitive issue of religion in Malaysia.
Holding the religious affairs portfolio, the Amanah leader has already come out strongly in the issue of child marriages, blaming state syariah court judges for not following the guidelines issued a few months ago on the criteria to allow such marriages.
Many Malaysians had lauded his comments, saying it was far better than the helpless stance taken by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on the matter.
Yesterday, at two separate events, he upped his game by talking about extremist Muslim preacher Zakir Naik and the proliferation of illegal tahfiz schools.
Zakir Naik’s preaching not for Malaysia
Mujahid said the style of preaching favoured by Naik, who is an Indian national, is not suitable for any society which is multi-racial and multi-religious, Free Malaysia Today reported.
“If you ask me, the way Zakir Naik presents his arguments is not suitable for Malaysia. We don’t need any form of debate or discussion that denigrates other religions.
“What we need is a form of preaching and teaching that is more intellectual and calm without the need to put down the practices of other religions,” he was quoted as saying at a seminar on Islam and the challenges in a multiracial society.
Mujahid also acknowledged that his role as minister in charge of religious affairs meant he was also responsible for defending the rights of other religions.
“Islamic missionary work in the past was successful because it did not attack other beliefs.
“When has Islam been spread by insulting other religions? If Islam is compassionate, there is no need for insults,” he was quoted as saying by FMT.
Malaysia, a safe haven for fugitive preacher Naik
Naik is now a fugitive from India and is wanted for various charges in his home country, including money laundering. He now holds permanent residency in Malaysia and though an extradition order has been issued by Indian authorities, besides a red notice request to Interpol for his arrest, Putrajaya has decided not to act on the matter.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was reported as saying that Naik will be allowed to remain in Malaysia as long as he does not break any laws here.
Only KL City Hall can shutdown illegal tahfiz schools
Last night, after visiting the tahfiz school where the headmaster had allegedly sodomised nine students, Mujahid said if it was within his powers, he will immediately shutdown all illegal tahfiz schools.
“The problem is that I don’t have such authority. It falls under the purview of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall,” he was quoted as saying.
Mujahid then urged for the parents of the students at the illegal tahfiz school, located in Kepong, to take their children home.
“I was told that the three teachers who were teaching here have left. As a result, the younger boys are now under the supervision of the senior students. There is no adult supervision or guardianship.
“So, it is best for the parents to take their children home to ensure they are better cared for,” Mujahid said, according to FMT.
There has been no response as yet from City Hall nor Mujahid’s party colleague, Khalid Samad, who is the Federal Territories minister, on the issue of tahfiz schools.