JAKIM Tells Muslims To Respect The Use Of Animal Symbols In The Chinese Zodiac

They emphasised on preserving unity among different faiths and ethnicities.

Cover image via Free Malaysia Today

Yesterday, Director General of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) Tan Sri Othman Mustapha called for respect towards the use of animal symbols and images during CNY

Although animal symbols are used during Chinese New Year, Othman said that all parties need to respect this practice in order to maintain racial harmony according to the concept of co-existence (fiqh taa'yush).

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Malaysiakini

Othman stressed that respecting the CNY practice is in line with the government's policy of a moderate approach

According to a report by Free Malaysia Today, Othman said that the practice should not be made into an issue in accordance with the government's moderate (wasatiyyah) approach. 

"Even though the lunar new year uses animals as a form of symbolism, it is something that needs to be respected for the sake of racial harmony," he added. 

The Straits Times reported that Othman's comments came following the incident last month where festive T-shirts sold at Giant Hypermarket only had 10 out of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs printed on them

Image via Mothership

According to the report, the dog and the pig were missing from the T-shirts, and were replaced with Chinese characters “戌” (, dog) and “亥” (hài, pig).

It was also reported that some businesses and shopping malls were holding back on using dog images in their Chinese New Year decorations.

According to the Chinese zodiac, this year is the Year of the Dog.

Following Othman's statement, netizens began discussing it on Twitter

Some Twitter users expressed surprise and questioned if the society's tolerance is so low that a statement from JAKIM was needed to address this issue. Others perceived the statement as necessary due to allegedly evident scale-backs of CNY decorations this year.

Image via Twitter
Image via Twitter

What do you think about JAKIM's statement? Let us know in the comments below.

Last month, JAKIM announced that they will take a month to verify Nur Sajat's gender:

While we’re on the topic of CNY, did you know that the 'Gong Xi Gong Xi' song has a dark history?

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