Malaysia

Islamic leaders question non-Muslim rights

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
May 22, 2011
Latest Update: May 23, 2011 05:05 pm

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared Malaysia an Islamic state a decade ago in a move to counter PAS’ growing influence among the Malay Muslim population.Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared Malaysia an Islamic state a decade ago in a move to counter PAS’ growing influence among the Malay Muslim population.KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 – Several Islamic leaders have questioned the loyalty of non-Muslims in the country, declaring today the community’s rights must be re-evaluated if Malaysia is to call itself an Islamic state.

Former president of Islamic Da’wah Foundation Malaysia (Yadim), Datuk Nakhaie Ahmad, said treatment of non-Muslims must be based on the social contract agreed and pointed out that the government has been too gracious to the community.

“In attempts to get vote and support of non-Muslims, we have been very gracious in giving them their civil rights. Civil rights given to them includes the rights to vote, participation in politics, hold office, involvement in the military and so forth but we cannot just willingly give them everything.

“Our offer must be based on religious practices. If we look at the prophet’s agreement in the Madinah constitution, civil rights were given to the Jews but the rights must be paid back with responsibility. They must have the responsibility and agree to defend our country and not insult the agreement,” he said during a forum on "Membina Negara Sejahtera" organised by the Persatuan Ulama Malaysia here.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared Malaysia an Islamic state a decade ago in a move to counter PAS’ growing influence among the country’s key Malay Muslim population.

The issue cropped up this month when several groups asked for amendments to the Federal Constitution to stipulate only Muslims can be the prime minister after Utusan Malaysia carried an unsubstantiated report of a Christian plot to usurp Islam’s position as religion of the federation.

Nakhaie stressed that non-Muslims that have broken the social contract must be expelled from the country and asked the government to adopt a tough approach in safeguarding Muslim interest.

“If the agreement is broken then actions must be taken against them. If they break our agreement then they are our enemy and must be expelled from the country. We must not compromise with them. We must be stern with them when it comes to the social contract agreed,” he said.

Nakhaie added it is important that high level government positions not be awarded to non-Muslims for national security.

“We cannot give them important government position as it is not allowed for non-Muslims to become ministers in a Islamic state. Head of military must also not be given to non-Muslims.

“Without thinking about the future of our country, we are so willing to give them everything. Granting them their civil rights must be balanced with Islamic preaching so they will understand justice in Islam and the Islamic system,” said the former PAS member who defected to Umno years ago.

He also warned Muslims to unite as non-Muslims will become stronger if the community continues to quarrel among themselves.

“They are brave now and are willing to say anything because they are becoming dominant. They (non-muslim political parties) are only working with us to only achieve their goals. It is a marriage of convenience. We know what is their programme. We are already losing economically and now we want to give political rights?” he asked.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s (ISMA) deputy president Zamri Hashim added that Muslims must look beyond political affiliation for a common greater cause.

“We must think outside of politics. The Malay agenda is too important to ignore and a majority of Malays are Muslims. This is no longer about PAS and Umno,” said the Perak deputy Mufti.

Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim) deputy president, Dr Mohd Rumaizuddin Ghazali, also stressed that Malaysia must never become a secular state.

“This is why many non-Muslim politicians want to declare the country as a secular state because then the government will not have fund religious programmes.

“They are scared that if we accept Malaysia as an Islamic state then there are many implications which means that only Muslims have the right to lead the country,” he said.

Mohd Rumaizuddin added that the Malays are beginning to be trampled on and non-Muslims are starting to take advantage of the community.

“Because of politics, we are still not free after more than 50 years of independence,” he said.

Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia president Abdul Hakim Othman added the country’s constitution must be replaced as it has been stained by the colonial British.

“A Caliphate state is based on divine revelation. It is not a democratic or a theocratic state. It is only an Islamic state when the constitution is based on the Quran and prophetic traditions,” he said.