Malaysia

‘Haram’ for Muslims to join unlawful assemblies, fatwa council declares

May 06, 2012

Muslims are now forbidden from participating in events such as Bersih 3.0. — File picMuslims are now forbidden from participating in events such as Bersih 3.0. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — Muslims in the country are now barred from taking part in “unproductive” and unlawful assemblies, according an edict released by the National Fatwa Council.

“Rioting, causing disturbances and damaging public property are all forbidden by Islam. This also applies to any intention to topple a duly elected government by organising such demonstrations,” council chairman Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin was quoted as saying by Bernama Online today.

The edict comes after last month’s tumultuous Bersih 3.0 rally, which turned chaotic when riot police fired tear gas and water cannons after demonstrators breached police barricades at the then off-limits Dataran Merdeka here.

“No one is exempted, and cannot support any efforts that can cause harm, anxiety or unrest among Muslims to the point of the community becoming split, what more if there is bloodshed,” Abdul Shukor continued.

According to Abdul Shukor, the council had refrained from issuing a “fatwa” against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) “menace”, as it felt that this was clearly “haram” (forbidden) under Islam.

“Even showing support or sympathy (for LGBTs) is ‘haram’. It is the duty of all Muslims to rid this menace and if we support something that is not good, it can be said we are abetting it, which is a sin,” he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Friday asserted that the rally for free and fair elections was an attempt to oust the country’s duly-elected government, a claim that has been echoed by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The election watchdog today denied the claim, and insisted that Bersih 3.0’s objectives were purely to demand a clean and fair polls process.

Bersih 3.0 was initially planned for the historic Dataran Merdeka but authorities had secured a court order on April 27 barring its use for public assemblies until May 1, forcing Bersih supporters to splinter into groups.

Despite an initially peaceful start to the rally, Bersih’s third since 2007, police would later take measures that are now being condemned as more brutal than those employed during last year’s tumultuous July 11 Bersih 2.0 rally.