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RSGC told: Don’t bend to authorities’ will

 | November 14, 2017

Tawfik Ismail worries that the government is increasingly imposing its version of Islam on everyone.

Tawfik-Ismail-warned-the-Royal-Selangor-Golf-Club-talk-1PETALING JAYA: Moderation advocate Tawfik Ismail has warned the Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC) that religious authorities will eventually impose their version of Islam on it if it doesn’t take a stand against them.

Commenting on the club’s refusal to host a forum featuring US-based scholar Nader Hashemi, Tawfik told FMT: “If RSGC is not firm, ladies can’t swim, play tennis or play golf. Muslim members cannot share changing room facilities, nor eat from plates or use cutlery that have been used by others. No alcoholic beverages can be sold.”

RSGC told FMT yesterday that it was under pressure to screen all events that would have a bearing on religion.

“The club has decided to just say ‘no’ to all religious events for the moment,” RSGC service and operations manager Eric Ilyas Lim said.

Tawfik said this was only the latest of signs that the government was increasingly imposing its understanding of Islam on others, adding that it lent credence to his fear that the country was headed towards becoming a theocracy.

“Islam is being used to label and justify anything the little Napoleons want done,” he said.

RSGC, one of the oldest elite clubs located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, had in the past played host to several events organised by the Islamic Renaissance Front and G25, an activist group of former civil servants, some of whom are members of the club.

Last August, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) labelled Indonesian scholar Mun’im Sirry as a deviant after he delivered a lecture at RSGC.

A month later, officers from the Federal Territory Islamic Department (Jawi) arrested Turkish author Mustafa Akyol following his speech on apostasy at a forum organised by IRF and G25.

Jawi said Akyol had violated an offence under the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act, which requires those who would speak on Islam to first get official recognition as experts. Before the Akyol affair, the rule was generally thought to apply only to those who speak in mosques and suraus.

Elite KL club denies space for intellectual forum after pressure


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