Interfaith programmes should not be banned - Muda
SHAH ALAM - Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) believes that interfaith programmes and activities of visiting other religion's houses of worship should not be blocked but rather celebrated.
Its information chief Luqman Long questioned the statement made by State Islamic Religious Affairs, Consumer Affairs and Halal Industry exco Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni saying that the Selangor state government prohibitted programmes involving Muslims visiting other houses of worship.
He said the decision did not help the multi-religious and multi-racial society in Malaysia to live harmoniously.
"Even Muda had held programmes for all its members including the celebration of Pongal, Hari Raya Aidiliftri, Maulidur Rasul, Christmas, opening up a Thaneer Panthal for Thaipusam and Chinese New Year.
"The programmes were attended by all Muda members regardless of religion.
"There are also non-Muslim members who helped clean the surau and mosques in flood-affected areas.
"So when there is a ban for people to visit different religion's houses of worship, I was worried because there has been no problem all this while when the people celebrate the differences of other people in the society," he said in a statement.
Previously, Luqman said an agency under the Youth and Sports Ministry, Impact Malaysia received backlash from several parties including the opposition over a programme called "Projek Artikel 11".
However, Impact Malaysia denied claims that they had organised an "Evangelical Christian" programme.
Projek Artikel 11 is a programme to bring young people to visit houses of worship of various religions as part of the effort to increase the awareness of the pluralistic society in the country.
Yesterday, Mohd Zawawi was reported to have said that such programmes should follow the Selangor Islamic Religious Department's (Jais) guidelines and that action could be taken against individuals who violated the rules under Sections 5 and 6 of the Non-Islamic Religions Enactment (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims).
Luqman also questioned whether non-Hindus were no longer allowed to visit Batu Caves or whether Christians and Buddhists were no longer allowed to visit mosques.
"How about national leaders who are invited to join the celebration of other religions?
"Will they also be banned or the conditions are more relaxed for leaders?
"I (and Muda) want to say that people should be given space if they are interested to exchange thoughts and opinions on religion, belief, and faith with each other," he said.
He added that there was no issue to hold such programmes as long as it followed the principles of decency and morality.