PETALING JAYA: Kelantan’s religious authorities have denied barring Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin from holding ceramahs in the state, though he is still required to request permission from them.
This follows Asri’s claim that he was not allowed to speak in a programme in Taman Aulia, Kota Bharu, for not having the necessary “credentials”.
The director of Kelantan’s Islamic affairs department, Che Rahim Jusoh, said discussions were held with the organisers of the programme and that the matter had been resolved.
“There are no problems between the state government and the organisers. There are no restrictions. One can (hold ceramahs) but they must apply to do so, the same way they have to in other states.
“They don’t have to have credentials, but if they do, then it’s better. If they don’t, they can request for temporary permission, it’s not a problem,” he told FMT.
Asri was supposed to appear on a forum with Kolej Universiti Islam Perlis rector Rozaimi Ramle and Kelantan PAS leader Johari Mat.
However, the programme, organised by businessman Wan Ariff Wan Hamzah, was understood to have been cancelled after orders from the state religious department as Asri and Rozaimi did not possess the required credentials.
A letter said to have been issued by the department had also gone viral, warning that action would be taken if the forum went ahead, with the organisers liable to a RM5,000 fine or a maximum jail sentence of three years, or both.
While the forum was cancelled, it was changed to a casual get-together, which was later interrupted by a group of youths who chanted “tolak Wahabi” (reject Wahhabism).
Previously, Asri had not been allowed to hold ceramahs in Selangor and Terengganu as he also did not possess the credentials required by the states’ religious departments.
Wahhabism, sometimes used interchangeably with Salafism, has its origins in the teachings of 17th century scholar Muhammad ibn Abd Wahhab, who sought to end practices deemed “un-Islamic” and led a campaign for a return to a more austere version of Islam.
Wahhabi ideas inspired restrictions in Saudi Arabia, such as the ban on women driving and the rule that women travellers are to be accompanied by male family members, although these have eased in recent times.
In Malaysia, several Muslim personalities and groups have been accused of spreading the Wahhabi doctrine.