Perak ruler Sultan Nazrin Shah today expressed concern over the abuse of power, arrogance and high-handedness of certain religious officers and religious institutions in their enforcement activities that he said tarnished the good name of Islam.
He said activities such as interrogation which contained elements of torture and abuse, implemented for the purpose of enforcement of regulations for the safeguarding of Islam, had only smeared the sanctity and good name of the religion.
“Malaysia has a good name and is respected among Islamic and non-Islamic nations for its religious moderation.
“Words of contempt expressed and activities containing elements of vengefulness, threats and arrests with interrogation methods containing elements of torture and abuse portray a very negative image of the Islam practised in this country,” he said.
The sultan spoke at the Perak-level Maulidur Rasul (Prophet Muhammad’s birthday celebration) in Ipoh. The Raja Permaisuri of Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim, was also present at the event.
The sultan also said that boycotting of groups or cutting off relationships with individuals to the extent of refusing to administer a dead body because of misunderstanding or differences of opinion should be stopped and firmly opposed.
“Islam advocates moderation. The majority of Muslims who adhere to moderate practices must speak up and not give in to the minority extremist groups,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin said there was a need to review the modus operandi of propagation as well as the methods used to address various religious issues, especially among the younger generation.
This was all the more necessary in the face of the rapidly changing socio-culture in the era of the emergence of technology and a more literate, more educated and more exposed society, especially youths, he said.
The sultan said Islam should be safeguarded and promoted through a prudent, polite and honourable approach without coercion, pressure, violence and disgraceful acts.
“The sanctity of Islam should be safeguarded through discussions and arguments based on truth in the spirit of respect for differences and differences of views,” he said.
At the event, the sultan presented an Exemplary Family Award to Ismail Abdullah of Bukit Merah, Bagan Serai. The award came with RM5,000 cash, a certificate, a plaque and a gift.
The sultan also presented awards to mosque and religious officials, namely Bahari Ahmad of Kampung Temelong, Lenggong; Hussain Lebai Ismail of Felda Sungai Klah, Sungkai; Saad Brahim of Kampung Masjid Batu, Kuala Kurau and Muhd Nassir Thanabalan Abdullah of Taman Seri Raiya, Ipoh. Each of them received RM3,000 cash, a certificate, a plaque and a gift.