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Khalid Samad forms committee to assess Selangor Islamic bans

February 24, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wong Choon Mei, Harakah Daily

PAS MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad will spearhead a working committee to look into updating certain aspects of the Selangor Non-Islamic Religion Enactment 1988 (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims), in particular, the existing bans against non-Muslims from using certain words such as Allah.

“I have met with Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and we have agreed that I will establish the committee to do the groundwork and research before submitting a proposal to the state government,” Khalid told Harakahdaily.

“The Mentri Besar is very supportive and has asked to be kept updated at every stage so that when the Sultan asks for clarification, they will be able to address his queries. To make sure everything is transparent, I will also submit copies to the Sultan, the MB and the state religious authority.”

Khalid plans to rope in the best Islamic minds for his committee, including the renowned Dr Asri Zainul Abdin, the former mufti of Perlis.

Islam was never meant to be unfriendly

The Enactment review issue blew to the forefront during the height of last month’s row over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims.

Khalid and his PAS party have said the word Allah could be used by non-Muslims to describe God provided there were guidelines to ensure there was no abuse or misuse.

However, in a move widely regarded as a political ploy to rally the Malay electorate, Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Umno party have insisted that Allah was for Muslims only.

The row that broke out escalated into a spate of attacks against places of worship throughout the country. More than a dozen churches were either torched or vandalized, while stones were hurled at a 100-year old Sikh temple and boar heads flung into the compounds of two mosques.

Amidst this background, Khalid had urged for a review of the Selangor Enactment, which not only bans non-Muslims from using Allah but other words as well. Ten of Malaysia’s 13 states including Selangor have banned non-Muslims from using up to 35 Arabic terms including the word ‘Allah’, ‘solat’ or prayers and even ‘masjid’ or mosque.

Those found guilty of using such terms can be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed for up to two years, or both.

“As a follower of Islam, I do not find this acceptable. It makes our religion seem so unfriendly and so segregated from the rest of mankind. This is why I spoke up,” said Khalid, who is known for his courage of conviction and devotion to the Islamic cause.

“And when I met the Sultan over a letter I had written to him earlier on a totally different matter, which was the development of Shah Alam, he was interested to know what sort of Enactment review I had in mind. Hence, this working committee to look into the matter in depth and taking into account the views of all stakeholders,

Changes also sought over tauliah, head of JAIS

Apart from proposing changes to the Enactment, Khalid’s working committee will also review the tauliah or credentials currently needed to undertake dakwah or missionary work in Selangor. It will submit the findings of its study to the state government as well.

One of the most notable cases has been the charges pressed against Dr Asri by JAIS, the Selangor religious authority, for preaching or giving religious talks in the state without accreditation.

Khalid has also called for the head of JAIS to be someone with a religious background, so as to ensure that the state enjoyed the highest quality of Islamic propagation and administration.

“Currently, the head of JAIS is just a political appointee of the federal government, in other words Umno. This must change. We do not want a continuing situation whereby the head of JAIS can catch and victimize all the PAS ustaz because of political motivation and affiliation,” Khalid said.

There have been many epithets used to describe Khalid, one of a small but growing group of PAS leaders with a national profile. He is not only popular with his constituents but also well-respected for his unflinching bravery in going after causes dear to him.

However, that has also earned him the envy and hate of some of his colleagues, such as PKR MP for Kulim Bandar Baharu Zulkifli Noordin.

Zulkifli, who lodged a police report against Khalid over the Allah debate, will face disciplinary action from the PKR board on March 1. Many have called for his sacking from the Pakatan for asking the police to investigate Khalid under the country’s oppressive Sedition laws.

“I don’t seek fame or notoriety. My purpose in getting into politics is rooted in my belief in Islam. You see, God doesn’t need anything from us. He created mankind so he doesn’t need us to service him. What we do to honour Him is to serve mankind, and through serving people, we serve Him,” Khalid said, refusing to make any comment on Zulkifli.

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