Friday 19 August 2011

Be sensible, PAS tells Muslims

GEORGE TOWN: PAS has appealed to Muslims not to be entrapped by the attempts of extremist groups to create a climate of fear in Penang.

Its vice-president Mahfuz Omar said Muslims should instead use the holy month of Ramadan to demonstrate the true virtues of Islam and its righteous teachings to non-Muslims.

“They should reject any attempts to sow fear through extremist measures advocated by certain groups such as vandalising places or making racist remarks,” said Mahfuz.

“It is the responsibility of all Muslims to demonstrate our faith. It’s does not help when you antagonise non-Muslims, and continuing to raise the level of suspicions in the country.”

Mahfuz said that since 2008, there have been attempts to instil fear and create divisions within a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.

He cited the attempted arson of the state DAP headquarters at Jalan Talipon yesterday, saying that certain quarters are manipulating issues of the DAP-led state government.

“For example, lowering the volume of the loudspeakers which broadcast the reciting of the Quran before dawn at mosques here.

“It was actually an advice from the State Fatwa Council, not a decree, but some people chose to manipulate the situation by blaming the state government,” said Mahfuz.

Dialogues the way to resolve issues

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, he said, did not interfere in the issue as it was a matter under the purview of the State Fatwa Council, yet certain quarters are portraying Lim as anti-Islam.

“If one looks at Islam’s history, even Jews had embraced the religion after discovering that Islam advocates justice,” added Mahfuz.

Penang PAS deputy commissioner III Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, meanwhile, said while freedom of speech or assembly in a democractic setting must be respected, the approach can be questioned.

“Those setting fire to newspapers outside the DAP office should ask themselves whether that is the only way to signal their frustration or disapproval of things.”

Mujahid said PAS is trying its best to defuse any attempts by extremist groups to create fear in society but instead, it is now accused of being subservient to non-Muslim groups.

He said dialogues are the best avenue to resolve any misgivings in Penang, especially since there are diverse communities here.

Instead of resorting to vandalism, these groups should have sought a dialogue with the state government.
Mujahid said there is a need for Muslims to show maturity and sensibility when dealing with sensitive issues.

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