MBSA Councillor Hits Back At Idris' Advice About Muslims Participating In Bon Odori Event
Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) councillor Muhammad Shakir Ameer Mohideen said that Idris' advice shows his lack of understanding and ignorance on cultural diversity in the country.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad has been slammed for advising Malaysian Muslims not to participate in a Japanese Festival that will be taking place in Shah Alam, Selangor in July
In a statement today, 7 June, Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) councillor Muhammad Shakir Ameer Mohideen said that Idris' advice shows his lack of understanding and ignorance on cultural diversity in the country.
Shakir pointed out that the Bon Odori festival has been observed in Malaysia for over 30 years and does not contain non-Islamic religious influence.
"From my understanding, the main attraction is the musical elements of it such as the dance and the drums. ...Why does it have to become an issue now?" he asked.
Bon Odori is a summer festival originating in Japan, held to honour, appreciate, and remember ancestors through dancing
According to Malaysiakini, the festival is also celebrated annually by local Japanese clubs and associations in Selangor, Penang, and Sabah in Malaysia.
The Selangor event is organised by the Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur and the Embassy Of Japan in Malaysia, among others, while being supported by the state government.
This year, it is being held at the Shah Alam Sports Complex on 16 July.
When it was announced, Idris warned Malaysian Muslims against participating in the event as it celebrates elements of other religions and could affect their own beliefs.
Criticising Idris, Shakir argued that the event held in Malaysia is more of a cultural and commercial celebration, rather than a religious one
He said the event is also symbolic of Malaysia's close diplomatic ties with Japan, and it is only natural that the Japanese expatriates living in the country would like to celebrate and showcase their culture.
"This is why a party like PAS shouldn't be given the chance to administer the country again," said Shakir, who is also the DAP Youth vice-chief.
"They will ruin the social fabric of the country and ban every cultural celebration as they please while judging others. What they are doing now is just the beginning."
"Muslims should be given the chance to evaluate themselves on various cultural celebrations in a very diverse Malaysia," he added.
"We cannot allow opinions from PAS leaders to deny us Malaysians from embracing cultural diversity."
Meanwhile, Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari has said the state government will consult related authorities on the religious status of the festival
According to The Star, Amirudin Shari said the government has always considered the festival a cultural event.
He added that the event is held in the spirit of "looking east" as well as strengthening ties between companies and people with ties to Japan.
"I believe this is the same as other festivals, for example, Ponggal. I am not sure (Bon Odori here) has religious elements," he was quoted as saying.