PETALING JAYA: The minister in charge of Islamic affairs has defended Johor Bahru MP Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir’s “buka puasa” programme at a Sikh temple, saying Muslims have nothing to fear as the programme did not go against Islamic teachings.
Mujahid Yusof Rawa said the matter is a non-issue as the main aim was to strengthen ties among the different faiths and races.
He said the event was held at a hall and not in the gurdwara itself.
“This isn’t an issue that should be played up. Only a few would sensationalise such matters and I fear it would lead to Islamophobia,” Bernama quoted him as saying at an event last night.
Mujahid’s defence of Akmal, however, came prior to the rebuke by the Johor Palace.
Last night, the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, expressed his disappointment with Akmal for attending the event and failing to consult the state religious authority on the matter.
He said Akmal should realise and understand the difference between religious and political actions.
Sultan Ibrahim said events at non-Muslim houses of worship presented an opportunity for non-Muslims to proselytise to Muslims, and this implication would be more serious when a Muslim politician attended an event such as “iftar”, which could set a precedent.
It could create unease among Muslims, cause confusion and strain ties within the community, especially among those without proper religious knowledge, the ruler said.
On Tuesday, Akmal had attended the “Majlis Iftar Muhibbah Bersama YB Akmal Nasrullah Nasir” at the Johor Baru Gurdwara Sahib temple, which is next to the mosque where Akmal had earlier performed prayers.
His attendance drew strong criticism on social media, but the PKR politician defended his decision to do so, saying it did not make him less of a Muslim or erode his faith.