MB renews support for Selangor’s crackdown against Shias

Amirudin Shari (second, left) backs recent arrests of Shia Muslims for attending ceremonies marking the Ashura.

KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari has renewed his support for an ongoing crackdown against Shias in the state, which saw the arrest of foreign Muslims practising the second largest brand of Islam.

Amirudin said firm action would be taken against them if they contravene state Islamic laws.

“And we will charge them accordingly,” he told reporters today.

Selangor Islamic authorities have raided at least three private functions over the past week to commemorate the Ashura.

Ashura, held on the 10th day of the Muslim calendar month of Muharram, commemorates the death anniversary of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet and the central icon in Shia Islam.

Last night, officers from the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided a house in Bandar Sunway and arrested several Pakistani foreign Shia Muslims, in what is a departure from past assurances that foreigners would be allowed to practise their brand of Islam as long as they did not propagate it to Sunni Muslims.

On Sept 6, 23 people including women and children were arrested while attending an Ashura ceremony at a Shia Muslim centre in Gombak.

“We will get the full report from Jais and charges will be brought against those who are suspected of committing offences,” said Amirudin.

Religious authorities in Malaysia have over the years been enforcing a fatwa declaring Shia teachings as “deviant”, with raiding parties mostly targetting local Shias.

Shia Islam has a substantial following in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon and several parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan.

But state Islamic authorities have declared its teachings as “deviant”, with sermons in Selangor frequently condemning its followers as heretics.