‘Burkini ban example of how not to treat minorities’

raja bahrinPETALING JAYA: The French Government’s recent treatment of its minority-Muslim citizens, especially those who don the hijab, headscarves or the “burkini”, is an example of how Muslim-majority Malaysia should not treat its minorities.

In a statement, Amanah’s Raja Bahrin Shah said Muslims in the country should instead lead by example and refrain from discriminating against the minorities here.

About 61 per cent of Malaysians are Muslims.

“What happened in France should be condemned and not be adopted by Muslim nations.”

A small number of towns in France had last month decided to ban the burkini – a cross between a bikini and a burqa, which Muslim women would wear at the beach – for its alleged links to terrorism.

The country’s highest administrative court later ruled that the bans were illegal, but the mayors of 30 French coastal resorts refused to lift the restrictions.

Raja Bahrin, who is also the Kuala Terengganu lawmaker, then alluded to a picture taken in the 1950s which depicted a French policeman issuing a fine to a non-Muslim woman for wearing revealing clothes.

“There are many nuns who take a dip in their habits, yet no action is taken against them. This clearly shows discrimination against the minorities.”

While Malaysians of various faiths generally live peacefully side by side, there have been various incidents in the past that strained race relations.

This includes the tug-of-war over the usage of Allah, which the apex court has since declared as exclusive for Muslims despite Catholics, especially those in East Malaysia, using the Arabic term for God decades ago.

The controversy over the use of the word Allah not only saw Bibles seized by religious authorities but also led to several churches being vandalised.

The country also witnessed two interfaith custody battles involving Hindu women and their Muslim convert husbands after their children were unilaterally converted to Islam.