PETALING JAYA: The Sultan of Johor has warned a laundrette in Muar to stop its practice of allowing only Muslims to use its services or he will personally shut it down.
The order by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar comes as the issue of the “Muslims-only laundrette” generated much debate over the past few days, after a photo of the laundrette with a sign, “Only For Muslims”, had gone viral on social media.
“I cannot accept this nonsense. This is Johor, which belongs to Bangsa Johor and it belongs to all races and faiths. This is a progressive, modern and moderate state.
“This is not a Taliban state and as the Head of Islam in Johor, I find this action to be totally unacceptable as this is extremist in nature,” the Johor ruler was quoted as saying by The Star.
Sultan Ibrahim told the daily that he had also ordered the state Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Abdul Mutalip Abd Rahim, the religious council and the district council to investigate the matter.
“From now on, I am directing the state executive council and all the councils to insist that any business owners who carry out such blatant discriminatory practices should have their licences revoked. Don’t mess around with your narrow-minded religious prejudices,” Sultan Ibrahim was quoted as saying.
Taking particular aim at the owner of the laundrette, Sultan Ibrahim said his actions were an embarrassment to the state.
“I want the owner to apologise to me and the people of Johor. He has made Johoreans very angry and embarrassed because this is not the Johor we want.
“The owner has gone against the vision of a united, harmonious, moderate and tolerant Johor. If he still insists on carrying on the Muslim-only practice, he can leave Johor.
“I suggest he set up shop in Afghanistan. His thinking is sick and goes against everything that Johor stands for,” Sultan Ibrahim told The Star.
The ruler also warned the owner not to be coy in trying to diffuse the issue after the laundrette had been said to have changed its sign from “Muslims-only” to “Muslim-friendly”.
“Don’t try to be clever. It’s still the same. The owner needs to have his brains cleaned up.
“I want to put a stop to such extremism. Extremism has no place in my state. We take pride in being Bangsa Johor and I want to know where the owner of this launderette learnt his Islam?
“Islam teaches the faithful to be tolerant and respect other people and faiths,” Sultan Ibrahim said, according to The Star.
The Johor ruler also criticised the laundrette owner over the implications of having a “Muslims-only” policy for his business.
“Is he saying only the clothes of Muslims are clean and those of non-Muslims are unclean? That’s what he means, I believe.
“I wonder where this launderette owner washes his clothes when he is overseas?” The Star had quoted the ruler as saying.
Sultan Ibrahim’s response to the whole debacle follows that of his son, Tunku Idris, who had taken to Instagram on Monday to criticise the Muslims-only laundrette in Muar.
Tunku Idris had posted a picture of a news report on the matter and added the caption: “Is this for real? This is too extreme. I’m appalled.”
In two subsequent posts, Tunku Idris uploaded an image with the text: “The Quran says, ‘speak good to people’ and that it doesn’t say to ‘speak good only to Muslims’.”
The second image was of a Quranic verse which states: “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion”.
Meanwhile, Sultan Ibrahim said that he was “deeply appalled” by the laundrette owner’s actions, adding that if such matters were not stopped, it would lead to more narrow-minded actions in the name of Islam.
“I could not keep quiet on the issue, as if this was allowed to go unnoticed, then next we will have taxis for only Muslims or non-Muslims.”