KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — An official sermon planned for the Aidilfitri celebration next week has warned Muslims nationwide against a conspiracy by “enemies of Islam” to manipulate them through ideas like secularism, pluralism, socialism, feminism, and positivism.
The sermon, to be read out to Muslims on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri next week, suggested that such “colonial” ideas were being used to incite challenges against Islam’s position in the Constitution and open debate about Syariah law.
The official sermon by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) was uploaded to its website yesterday, also with a rare version in English, one week earlier as Muslims nationwide wind down Ramadan, their holy month of fasting.
The warning comes amid several controversial decisions by Jakim in the last few weeks against individuals which it has deemed as “insulting Islam”, including a non-Muslim blogger couple, four Muslim beauty pageant hopefuls, and a Muslim dog trainer.
“As we celebrate the Aidilfitri, we must realise the various ways and strategies of the enemies of Islam to undermine the unity and peace in the country,” said the sermon here.
“They move through well-organised and devious ways by cultural pollution, spreading slander against unity either through the mass media or cyberspace, violating federal laws, questioning the position of Islam in the Constitution, (and) insulting the position of the Malay kings.”
Jakim’s sermon today seemed to mirror Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom’s remarks this week when he claimed that the ongoing debate over four Muslims dropped as beauty contestants recently is part of an attempt to divide followers of the faith.
Four Muslim women were dropped as contestants in the Miss Malaysia World 2013 pageant last month and are now under investigation for allegedly breaching the National Fatwa Council’s edict and allegedly insulting Islam.
Federal Territory syarie chief prosecutor Ibrahim Deris was also quoted recently as saying that action can be taken against anyone belittling a fatwa, even non-Muslims, as it could be seen as insulting Islam.
The sermon also lamented increasing debates against the religion and the administration of the syariah law, despite the alleged respect afforded to Islam as the religion of federation as prescribed in the Constitution.
Jakim also reiterated its repeated line, calling for censure against what it called “colonisation of minds” through “Western ideologies and doctrines” such as secularism, pluralism, socialism, feminism, and positivism.
“They are planning all this carefully and wisely. They have launched psychological warfare openly and bravely to manipulate the minds and beliefs of Muslims when the Muslims are plagued by crisis of confidence and the loss of strength and unity,” said the sermon.
The recent spotlight on Islamic decrees by Malaysian authorities on its followers as well as non-Muslims has led to heated debate over their enforcement here, with some groups deeming certain provisions under religious law to be regressive while others have voiced concern over a worrying trend of overt Islamisation in a multicultural country.
In a 105-second video reposted on YouTube on Tuesday, dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof is seen walking and bathing her three dogs as the “Takbir Raya”, or Muslim call to prayer traditionally reserved for the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, plays in the background.
The juxtaposition appeared to be a reference to the wudhu, or ablution performed by Muslims before prayer; dogs are also considered unclean by adherents of the predominant faith in Malaysia.
Maznah has since been arrested and was released from remand in Johor earlier this afternoon on a court bond. Jamil Khir has confirmed today that Jakim has decided that it was an insult to Islam.
Maznah’s arrest comes after sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee were charged recently under the Penal Code and Sedition Act, for posting a mock “Selamat Berbuka Puasa” (breaking of fast) greeting on their Facebook page that showed them eating “bak kut teh”, a soupy pork dish. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork.