Shias have rights, but don’t spread beliefs among Malaysian Muslims, says Dr M

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today assured the people of their freedom to practise any school of Islam as long as they respect the Sunni-majority of Muslims.

“If they want to welcome Buddhists or Shias or whatever, it is their right as long as they (minority sects) don’t try to spread their teachings among Malaysian Muslims who are all Sunnis,” he told reporters in a press conference at the Parliament lobby.

This follows reports yesterday that a seminar on the Amman Message – a declaration signed by Muslim leaders worldwide pledging an end to sectarianism – organised by the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies was cancelled due to a bomb threat.

The Amman Message, signed in Amman by Jordan’s King Abdullah II in 2004, recognises the validity of all eight Islamic schools, including Sunni and Shia, the two biggest denominations in the Muslim world.

Mahathir said threatening the organisers was “not the proper way to do it”.

According to Bukit Aman spokesman Asmawati Ahmad, the threat, posted on the Facebook account of a movement called Gerakan Banteras Syiah, was made on July 6.

The organisers then cancelled the seminar which had been scheduled on July 13.