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Mujahid sees end to khalwat raids - report
Published:  Oct 6, 2018 3:50 AM
Updated: 4:32 AM

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa has indicated an end to middle of the night vice raids by religious authorities investigating reports of khalwat (close proximity) or other alleged wrongdoings in a personal space.

Mujahid in an interview with The Star said this as he believes what Muslims do behind closed doors is none of the government’s business.

"Let’s say you commit something within your personal, individual sphere – I will not interfere.

"For example, consumption of alcohol is wrong for a Muslim, but if you consume it within your sphere, then as part of the government, I will not interfere," said Mujahid.

"My concern is what goes on in public that encroaches on sensitivity, legality or criminality.

"Only then does the government come in, not because we want to be moral police but because we want to secure the public sphere," the Parit Buntar MP said.

Similarly, Mujahid also condemned the breaking down of doors to arrest khalwat offenders and expressed hoped it would be a thing of the past.

“This issue of enforcement on khalwat has been misused and exploited in some cases. It is important that they (enforcement officers) do not interfere with the individual sphere," said Mujahid.

Although noting that such raids are under jurisdiction of state religious authorities, Mujahid reportedly said he has been engaging with the various religious agencies to convince them to adopt the stance of the federal authority.

Mujahid, who is in charge of Islamic religious affairs, also admitted that he faced an uphill task in changing the image of the ministry.

The Star further quoted Mujahid as expressing his intentions to change the mindset of "conservative religious" civil servants who wanted to uphold the sanctity of Islam with their own understanding.

On various occasions, Mujahid said he had to be firm in stating that the Islam he intends to uphold is “compassionate for all” (rahmatan lil alamin).

"The government’s narrative of Islam will translate into our policies, all the Islamic judiciary activities, all our relations with other faiths.

"Compassionate Islam does not harm the people’s interests or importance of national unity and harmony," he added.

Since assuming office, there has been a long list of issues that needed his urgent attention, including dealing with LGBT issues, underage marriage, public caning in syariah courts and sexual abuse in tahfiz schools.

There has also been much public discussions on the subject by Muslims who are placed across a spectrum of conservative and liberal interpretation of Islam.

At a personal level, Mujahid told The Star that he sees himself as an ordinary Muslim living with his faith and practicing the religion.

"I have to be conservative in my belief but in terms of how you interact with others, you might have to be liberal in terms of living together.

"If you become conservative in that sense, you will not be together with society," he said in stressing that he will also reject any form of extremism in Islam.

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