Prime Minister Dr Mahahir Mohamad has unfurled a stinging attack aimed at parties such as Umno and PAS who claim they are required to defend Islam.
“I welcome the gathering of Muslims who are aiming to defend the sovereignty of Islam and the constitution.
"I fully support those goals,” he said in a blog post today, referring to the May 4 gathering purportedly held to defend the status of Islam.
However, Mahathir challenged the motive of the rally, asking if it was really held to further the agenda of certain political parties.
“If it is aimed at defending Islam, it should not be limited to certain political parties,” he said, pointing to the rally being spearheaded by PAS and Umno.
“The pairing of these parties does not reflect the solidarity of Muslims.”
On the contrary, Mahathir maintained that the lack of solidarity among Muslims in the country has its roots in PAS' past attacks on Umno.
“PAS claimed that Umno party members were infidels for cooperating with non-believers and to this day, the claim has not been renounced,” he said.
Mahathir said that Malays are all Sunni Muslims and there is no distinction in their beliefs about Islam since ancient times.
He added that this only broke when PAS was formed in 1955, and attacked Umno members for cooperating with those of other faiths.
"For PAS, people who do not join PAS are infidels,” he said, pinning the blame on the party’s doctrine firmly on the shoulder of its president Abdul Hadi Awang (photo).
"What's worse is to misuse the name of God during gatherings to strengthen the party's divisive politics.
"Islam prohibits theft, but PAS negotiates and cooperates with the previous government that is known around the world for its kleptocracy,” he added.
PAS and Umno have been playing up sentiments claiming that the status of Islam in Malaysia is under threat, despite a significant majority of Pakatan Harapan leaders being Muslims.
Mahathir also questioned whether Muslims who sought asylum in non-Islamic countries have become infidels, going by the PAS way of thinking.
The prime minister also lamented that some Malaysian Muslims have been drawn to extremist practices.
“There are Muslims who supposedly want to practice the teachings of Islam, but their focus is on the small things that have political elements.
“Now we have found Malaysian Muslims joining the war of Muslims who are willing to kill other Muslims, something that is prohibited by Islam,” he said in reference to those who joined militant movements, such as Islamic State.
Mahathir said that those Malays who have been misled and accuse the government of being ignorant of Islam do not realise that many people from other Muslim countries look up to Malaysia as an example of a successful Islamic state.
“These countries may have 100 percent Muslims, but often they are enemies among themselves, killing and fighting.
"Such is the chaos in their countries that many had to migrate to non-Islamic countries. Often they are forced to abide by the will of a non-Muslim major power.
"Others are also influenced by Jews, either directly or indirectly,” he said.
Malaysia does not cut off hands, have beheadings and carry out stoning for adultery, he said. “This is because the priority of Islam is the practice of justice.”
Mahathir questioned if it was fair for Muslims to have their hands cut off while non-Muslims could face just a short prison term for the same crime.
He concluded his blog posting by asking Hadi and PAS to clarify whether non-PAS members can be true followers of Islam or not.