PAS among Muslim groups supporting Turkish author’s arrest

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PETALING JAYA: PAS and several Muslim groups have voiced their support for the government’s arrest of Mustafa Akyol, saying the Turkish author’s views on Islam are controversial and is at odds with local Islamic laws.

PAS research centre director Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki said anyone who broke a country’s laws, be it a foreigner or citizen, should be detained.

“Any government has the right to ensure the harmony and stability of its country by restricting the arrival of such persons.

“Many European countries have restricted Dr Yusof al-Qaradhawi from entering even though he is a moderate Islamic scholar.

“The United States also has restricted (Swiss academic) Dr Tariq Ramadan’s entry into the country. So, this is just a normal matter for a government,” he told FMT today.

Zuhdi added that the voice of 15 million Muslims in the country was more worthy to be heard than that of liberalists who tried to undermine the well-being of the people.

Meanwhile, chairman of Perkasa’s Islamic affairs bureau, Amini Amir Abdullah, said the NGO welcomed the action taken by the Immigration Department last night.

“Perkasa agrees with the action taken as Mustafa Akyol’s views are against Islam.

“He once mentioned that shariah was toxic and there was no such thing as a great sin in Islam. This could lead to confusion among Muslims.”

Amini said Akyol should have had proper credentials from the religious department for the forum.

He also urged the home ministry to create a database for foreign scholars who were known for their liberalism, rationalism and orientalism.

“We can use that database to restrict them from entering the country,” he said.

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff of Universiti Utara Malaysia said Akyol’s views on religious freedom were “sensitive”, adding that he was not qualified to speak on religious matters.

“It was reported that Akyol had admitted that he was being investigated for speaking on religious issues as he didn’t have proper credentials to do so.

“I am not sure of the specific grounds for the detention, but we should respect the process and laws in the country, so it is best to wait for the investigation to be completed,” he told FMT.

Kamarul agreed that authorities should also act against others, including Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik, if they had committed any wrongdoing.

“I agree that the same action should be taken against Naik if what he preached was wrong,” he said, adding however that Naik’s offence was committed in India and not in Malaysia.

Akyol was detained at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport last night as he was preparing to board a flight to Rome.

This came after he was served a summons to appear before the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) for teaching religion without official credentials, an offence under the Shariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act.

Akyol’s host, Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, who heads the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), was also summoned for a similar offence.

Akyol was released today after being questioned by Jawi.

He had often spoken out against both Islamists and secularists in his home country, and is a staunch advocate of free speech in Muslim countries. He has also criticised Muslim governments for using undemocratic laws in the name of religion.

Nurul Azwa Aris contributed to this article.