PETALING JAYA: A vigilante group in Kedah said it raided “centres of sin” to prevent Muslims from frequenting them, while accusing religious and local authorities of inaction.
The group, who call themselves “Skuad Badar” (Badar’s Squad) and number more than 200 members, recently hit the headlines when it raided a cyber café in Sungai Petani.
They herded together the Muslims found inside the café, who comprised mostly teenagers, gave them a “tazkirah” (religious advice) before taking them to a nearby mosque to attend Friday prayer.
Azhar Mohamad, who leads the group, said Skuad Badar had made “raids” on massage parlours, gambling outlets, motels and hotels which they suspected of involvement in prostitution and offering sexual services.
He claimed the authorities were hesitant in taking action against such activities.
“We have seen members of the public lodging reports year in, year out but no action has been taken against this kind of premises,” he told FMT.
Azhar said the group received complaints that the religious office failed to prevent illegal activities in Sungai Petani.
“This ought to be their duty but since they don’t do anything, we as an Islamic NGO are forced to act,” he said.
Azhar said his group had submitted its application to the Registrar of Societies (RoS), but had yet to get a response after two years.
“RoS is delaying its approval and giving all sorts of excuses,” he claimed.
He said his group had received threats from “gangsters” because of its activities.
“Gangsters in Sungai Petani threatened to shoot us and also tried to assault us two months ago.
“Threats like these will only strengthen our resolve,” he said, adding that the threats were received after the group raided a gambling outlet in a shophouse in Sungai Petani.
Advice is no problem, say police
Kedah police chief Asri Yusoff, when contacted, said the police would leave Skuad Badar alone as long as its activities were limited to giving advice to Muslims.
“If they want to advise Muslim children against playing games in cyber cafes, and they don’t affect non-Muslims, it is not a problem,” he said.
However, Asri warned that action would be taken if anyone took matters into their own hands.
“If they start shutting down shops and such things, they would be encroaching into the powers of the local authorities and the police. The businesses are licensed, so they can’t act as they wish,” he said.
According to him, the police had not received any report on Skuad Badar.
Asri said the police had called the group in before it launched its activities for talks with the district police officers.
FMT contacted the Kedah exco responsible for religion, Mohd Rawi Abdul Hamid, but has yet to get a response.