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Shiite group decries persecution

 | May 25, 2011

Yesterday’s raided gathering had permission from authorities, says Ar-Ridha leader

PETALING JAYA: A local Shiite organisation has denounced yesterday’s raid of a social gathering and bemoaned the official discrimination that adherents of the faith are subject to in Malaysia.

“This is something both shocking and inappropriate,” Ar-Ridha director Mohd Kamilzuhairi Abdul Aziz said of the raid in Taman Sri Gombak and the arrest of four people at the gathering, which was to celebrate the birthday of Fatimah az-Zahra, a daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.

He said in a press statement that the gathering had permission from the Selayang Municipal Council, the Home Ministry and the police.

Kamilzuhairi was one of the four arrested yesterday and released on bail. They have been told to appear at the Gombak Timor Lower Syariah Court in Kuang on June 7.

Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) officers carried out the raid with the assistance of 20 policemen. Kamilzuhairi said the gathering was having lunch. Among the guests were representatives of other religious groups.

Speaking to FMT, Kamilzuhairi said Jais accused him of defying a fatwa banning the preaching of Shiism.

“I asked Jais: When was I in the business of spreading Shiism? This is not right,” he said.

Kamilzuhairi also condemned what he said was an ongoing discrimination against Malaysia’s Shiite community. He said Malaysian Shiites numbered about 100,000.

Yesterday’s raid was the second against Shiites since last December, when more than 200 people, including foreign nationals, were arrested at a ceremony to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet.

Kamilzuhairi asked why the religious authorities were intent on pitting Sunnis against Shiites when they believed in the same God.

“We have our differences, but Allah is the same,” he said.

He said Jais’s raid went against the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.


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