Selangor Sultan Orders JAIS To Not Prevent Bon Odori Festival From Taking Place

He also stressed that there is a difference between watching something and practising it.

Cover image via Free Malaysia Today & Mukhriz Hazim/Malay Mail

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The Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, has ordered the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) to not block the Japanese summer festival of Bon Odori, scheduled for next month

In a statement yesterday, 8 June, JAIS director Mohd Shahzihan Ahmad stated that they have no plans to block the Bon Odori festival in any way as they have received royal orders from the Selangor ruler.

The Sultan of Selangor is the head of Islam in the state.

JAIS has also been instructed not to prevent individuals who wish to attend the festival.

The JAIS director was summoned to Istana Bukit Kayangan, the Selangor ruler's second official palace in Shah Alam, yesterday

At the palace, Shahzihan was informed that the Selangor ruler himself had attended the Japanese festival several years ago and did not find anything that was detrimental to the practice of the Islamic faith.

"His Majesty does not approve of any decision or ruling on such a matter to be concluded hurriedly without in-depth studies and scrutiny. He was of the view that many cultures were connected with religion but that religion is not necessarily a part of the culture," read the statement issued by the JAIS director.

The ruler also stressed that there is a difference between watching something and practising it.

According to Shahzihan, the sultan argued that Muslims had little to worry about practices that run contrary to Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah if one's faith in the religion is strong and true.

The Selangor ruler has also ordered JAIS and Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) officers to attend the event to "see for themselves" what takes place at the festival, which is making a return after two years

The annual festival had to be halted for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's organised by the Japanese community in Malaysia and will be held in Shah Alam on 16 July and in Penang on 30 July. It showcases Japanese culture and includes drum performances as well as the Bon Odori dance.

File photo of members of the Japanese community in Malaysia taking part in the Bon Odori summer festival.

Image via Free Malaysia Today

This comes after Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad told Muslims not to attend the festival:

MBSA councillor Muhammad Shakir Ameer Mohideen had then slammed Idris, saying that the Minister's advice showed his lack of understanding and ignorance of cultural diversity in the country:

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