‘What if your prayer-mat was woven by a gay weaver?’

Tawfik-Ismail-lgbt-1PETALING JAYA: Pro-moderation advocate Tawfik Ismail wants Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali to reveal what he intends to do if he finds out his prayer mat was woven by a gay weaver.

“If someone could prove that Ibrahim Ali’s prayer mat was woven by a gay weaver, are his prayers invalid?” he asked.

Tawfik was referring to a statement issued by Perkasa on Sunday calling for the public and Putrajaya to boycott companies that support the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, citing in particular Starbucks chairman Howard Shultz and Microsoft.

Perkasa Islamic affairs bureau head Amini Amir Abdullah had also urged Putrajaya to revoke business licenses of such companies.

Pointing out that Apple CEO Tim Cook is openly gay besides supporting LGBT rights, Tawfik questioned if this meant all Muslims in Malaysia should also give up their iPhones and iPads.

Tawfik made it clear that calling for a boycott – especially if it’s based on one’s ethics – was not wrong, but claimed that in this context, Perkasa may only be attempting to market its relevance as a Malay rights pressure group.

“The result, though, may be more empathy for Starbucks and an increase in customers as people may want to show they’re against Perkasa rather than for Starbucks,” he said.

Asked about the possibility that some Muslims will find fault with fellow Muslims who don’t support the boycott, Tawfik said Muslims are only answerable to God and not Perkasa.

“All Muslims know that the first word Prophet Muhammad heard, in the name of God, was ‘Read’.

“So, the only way you can be ‘less Muslim’ is if you don’t use God’s gift of the brain to read and therefore, understand, and decide on your own and be guided by your own conscience.

“You can also be ‘less Muslim’ if you delegate God’s power and might to Perkasa and abdicate your personal faith in God for Perkasa.”

Meanwhile, Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub said that not supporting the boycott did not make one less of a Muslim.

“Just because you don’t support Perkasa’s statement, that does not mean you are ‘not Muslim enough’.

“We should look into the matter and assess Perkasa’s statement before coming to our own decision on the issue of boycott,” Salahuddin said.

He added that Amanah has always maintained on the need to engage with any group no matter what they stood for.

“We are not a body that will quickly judge people and punish them just because they’re pro-LGBT.”