Thursday, December 30, 2010

Demands of Malaysian Shia Community

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Malaysian religious officials allow only Sunni Islam to be openly practiced by Muslims, who make up nearly two-thirds of this Southeast Asian country's population. All other Islamic denominations including the Shiite are considered illegal. Sunni Islam is the world's largest branch of the religion, followed by Shiite Islam, which is practiced mostly in Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait and Yemen though there are sizable minority populations in many Muslim countries.

Islamic authorities detained more than 200 Shiite Muslims at a prayer meeting in central Malaysia earlier this month in one of the largest recent mass arrests of its kind. Government-linked newspapers have since published articles warning people to avoid illegal sects.

About 30 Shiite community representatives handed a petition to Malaysia's government-backed Human Rights Commission this week seeking its help to curb any further crackdown, said Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah, a member of the rights watchdog. "If religious freedom is granted to (other Malaysian) minorities such as Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Sikhs, then why are we insulted, denigrated, slandered and now threatened simply for practicing the beliefs of our forefathers?" Shiite representative Kamil Zuhairi Abdul Aziz wrote in the petition, which was also posted on Internet forums.

Islamic department officials who could comment on the issue were not immediately available Tuesday.

Prior to the arrest of Imam Hussain Mourners on the day of Ashura and the unprecedented propaganda attack on the Malaysian Shia Community, the group along with issuing a statement on refusing the posed charges, demanded a public apology from the media and some extremist Religious Departments.

The statement which is signed by representatives of Malaysian Shia community reads as follows:

Demands of Malaysian Shia Community

1. We, the Community of the Lovers of Ahlul Bayt (Shiites) in Malaysia
and the Shiites all over the world demand a public apology from
Mohammed Khusrin bin Munawi and the Selangor Islamic Religious
Department after him and his officers had infringed our rights and
defamed us terribly.

2. We, the Community of the Lovers of Ahlul Bayt (Shiites) in
Malaysia and the Shiites all over the world demand a public apology
from the media who have slandered us baselessly.

3. We, the Community of the Lovers of Ahlul Bayt (Shiites) in
Malaysia and the Shiites all over the world demand a public apology
from scholars and religious leaders who have slandered us, especially
Hassan Din Al-Hafiz who said that our children, Shiite devotees
are illegitimate.

4. We, the Shiites of Malaysia offer a dialogue and would like to
extend our greetings and offer discussions with the
religious authorities of all states, particularly the Department of
Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).

5. We, the Shiite of Malaysia offer a dialogue and would like to
extend our greetings and offer discussions with the relevant
authorities, i.e. the Prime Minister of Malaysia. We believe in the
slogan that was founded by his 1Malaysia which means to embrace all
minorities which exist, and give them their rights in accordance with
the spirit of the constitution.

6. We, the Shiites of Malaysia offer a dialogue and would like to
extend our greetings and offer discussions with legislators (MPs) who
are our representatives.

7. We, the Shiites of Malaysia offer a dialogue and would like to extend our greetings and offer discussions with all political entities,
including the opposition.

8. We, the Shiite of Malaysia offer dialogue and would like to extend
greetings and offer discussion with all social entities such as
non-governmental bodies.

The Shiites face a stiff challenge because authorities have repeatedly defended their policies against non-Sunni teachings as necessary to preserve public stability and the integrity of Islamic teachings. Nevertheless, some Malaysian Islamic scholars support the right of Shiites to practice their beliefs.

The Shiites arrested recently have been released, but officials have said they might eventually be charged in Shariah courts with the crime of following the teachings of a deviationist movement, which is punishable by two years in jail.

Muhammad Sha'ani said the rights commission is working to arrange meetings between the Shiite community and government and Islamic affairs authorities to achieve "some peaceful agreement and mutual understanding."

"We are looking for a conciliatory solution, since there's no point in being confrontational," Muhammad Sha'ani told the AP. He declined to confirm whether the commission formally supports the Shiites' petition but added that "everyone should have the freedom to practice their own faith and religion."

Muhammad Sha'ani estimated there might be tens of thousands of Shiites in Malaysia, a country of 28 million people. Some have told rights activists over the years they are forced to hide their beliefs to avoid trouble with authorities and are unable to have formal places of worship, Muhammad Sha'ani said.

Malaysia's government has consistently denied it practices religious discrimination, saying the country is a model of Islamic moderation. However, some Malaysians have complained about policies that make it legally impossible for Muslims to convert to other religions and problematic for non-Muslims to build new churches and temples.

1 comment:

salim said...

salam. harap dpt post link ini utk ikhwan di malaysia

http://www.causes.com/causes/559231

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Graduan arkiteksur S1 UI. S2 Universitas Sains Malaysia. Pernah ikut suami ke Penang, Malaysia. Kini 'bekerja dengan famili.' Asal Utan Kayu, Jakarta, Indonesia