Malaysiakini NEWS

Baru: Not non-Muslims' job to remove 'nafsu'

Published:  |  Modified:

Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian has criticised Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria for claiming that authorities imposing a dress code on non-Muslims out of "respect" for Muslims.

Harussani was reported by Malay Mail Online as stating that non-Muslims who do not cover their "aurat" in public would cause Muslims to commit a sin upon seeing exposed flesh, such as the thigh.

Baru said that Harussani's comments were ludicrous because the mufti was suggesting that the responsibility of a Muslim's religious obligations were now being placed on non-Muslims.

"(There is a) mistaken belief that it is the duty of non-Muslims to remove all temptation from Muslims so that they are spared the necessity of mustering their self-discipline to resist normal urges of the flesh.

"Is this what the practice of Islam is about?" asked Baru, who is also the Ba Kelalan state assemblyperson.

Baru said Harussani's opinions, the arbitrary enforcement of dress codes at various government offices and suggestions that non-Muslims should not eat in the presence of Muslims during the month of Ramadan are worrying trends.

"Many years ago, when I was a student at iTM, a fellow student from Sarawak was eating a slice of cake during Ramadan when a Muslim student approached him and knocked the cake from his hand.

"Needless to say, we were shocked by the assault as such things never happened in Sarawak. We view the recent incidents with alarm, as these are signs of the attempts to Islamise our secular country," said Baru.

Baru said Islam, at least to his understanding, places no compulsion on the people of other faiths to ease the religious duties of Muslims by removing "temptations" from sight.

PM must find fortitude

He said that the purpose of fasting and requirement of religious piety was meant to test one's faith and willpower in dealing with "nafsu".

"Instead of asking others to remove the forces of temptation by covering up and hiding in the toilet to eat and drink, teachers and leaders should encourage adherents to delve into themselves to find the strengh and willpower to resist temptation and to carry on with their normal daily activities.

"We live in a multi-religious country where Christians, Buddhists and Hindus also fast as part of our religious practices, but there is no demand that people of other faiths respect us by not eating in our presence.

"Therefore, the excuse of 'not-respecting' one's religion cannot and should not be used to justify the on-going arbitrary imposing of dress codes and attempts to regulate the eating habits of non-Muslims in this country," he said.

Baru also took Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to task for failing to protect the constitutional freedoms and human rights of non-Muslims threatened by "champions of Islamisation".

"We are still waiting for him to act like the prime minister for all Malaysians instead of a beleaguered party chief struggling for survival.

"We fear that racial and religious tensions will continue to escalate if he cannot find the testicular fortitude to lead this country out of this festering mess that is a consequence of the BN government," he said.

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