Critic slams ‘totally absurd’ proposal to add ‘Sunni’ in constitution

Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa warns of ‘rabid Wahhabis’ turning Malaysia into a ‘Sunni authoritarian state’.

PETALING JAYA: Vocal Muslim activist Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa has criticised a call by a PAS MP to include a new clause in the Federal Constitution recognising only Sunni Islam as the official religion, as well as to ensure that only followers of the school of thought are allowed to hold top government posts.

Farouk, who heads the Islamic Renaissance Front, said Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari’s proposal at the Malay Dignity Congress yesterday was “totally absurd” and “out of context with reality”, adding that it goes against the spirit of the nation’s founding fathers.

“At their heart was the intent and desire to create a pluralistic and equal society,” Farouk told FMT.

Article 3 (1) of the constitution states: “Islam is the religion of the federation, but other religions may
be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the federation.”

Farouk said the Reid Commission which drafted the constitution had said that the statement did not imply that the state is theocratic or non-secular in nature.

“What more a state that would discriminate its citizens into Sunni Muslims and other denominations,” he added.

He said even the constitution of Shia-majority Iran guarantees the rights of other Muslim schools of jurisprudence.

Farouk also warned of the growing influence of what he called “rabid Wahhabi Salafi scholars” in creating hatred of non-Sunni Muslims.

“Are we sliding into a Sunni authoritarian state that not only goes against the spirit of our founding fathers but also against universal human rights values?” he asked.

Shia, with a substantial following in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon and several parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan, is the second largest branch of Islam.

Fatwas have been issued in most states in Malaysia declaring Shia teachings as “deviant”, and Islamic authorities have in the past raided private religious events held by its adherents.