Johor Sultan Rebukes MP Over "Insensitive" Interfaith Buka Puasa Event At Sikh Temple
"As the head of Islam in this state, I will not allow any action which will cause Islam to be looked at in disgust or lowly."
Johor Bahru MP Akmal Nasir received a royal rebuke by the Johor Sultan for attending an interfaith buka puasa at a Sikh temple, Gurdwara Sahib, on 21 May
In a statement published on 1 June, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, said the event held in the state had caused unease among Muslims due to "insensitive" actions, Malaysiakini reported.
The rebuke came after the PKR politician's attendance drew strong criticism on social media.
"When a Muslim intentionally attends a temple on the premise of attending a buka puasa event with non-Muslims, this opens space for non-Muslims to preach their religion to that Muslim," the Sultan said
He said this could lead to Muslims holding other religious events such as prayers, tahlil (supplications for the deceased), and wedding solemnisations at non-Muslim houses of worship.
"As the head of Islam in this state, I will not allow any action which will cause Islam to be looked at in disgust or lowly," the monarch said.
"My family and I frequently attend to celebrate festivities of other races and religions in the state at their places [of worship] but do not bring Muslim worship practices to their premises as was done by the parliamentarian," he added.
The Sultan also said that politicians should not use Islam for political purposes, Malaysiakini reported.
Defending his attendance at the breaking fast event, Akmal said that the programme did not make him a lesser Muslim or erode his faith in Islam
He explained that the food consumed by the Sikh community at the gurdwaras is 100% vegan and that an empty hall was prepared for visiting Muslims to perform their maghrib prayers.
Before attending the breaking fast event at the temple, Akmal performed his Maghrib prayers at Masjid An-Nur at [email protected] located next door.
"Throughout the event, there were no issues or problems as many guests joined the breaking of fast," the politician told Malay Mail.
Agreeing with the Johor MP, Minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa said that Muslims have nothing to fear as the programme did not go against Islamic teachings
Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa highlighted that the main aim was to strengthen ties among the different faiths and races.
According to Free Malaysia Today, he reiterated that the event was held at a hall and not in the gurdwara itself.
"This isn't an issue that should be played up. Only a few would sensationalise such matters and I fear it would lead to Islamophobia," Bernama quoted him as saying on 1 June, prior to the rebuke by the Johor Palace.