Monday, July 4, 2022

It’s a cultural event, go see for yourself, Selangor sultan tells minister, Jais on Bon Odori

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah warns against using issues that touch on religious sensitivities for personal political agendas.

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Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah today said that the Bon Odori festival, celebrated in Malaysia for decades, was a cultural event that fosters goodwill between Malaysians and the Japanese community working and residing in the country.

He said while any form of culture practised by a community would be linked to religion, with the passing of time, they would no longer highlight religious elements.

“The Bon Odori celebration in Malaysia is more of a cultural festival that showcases Japanese traditions, mainly their folk dance, beating of the drums, lanterns, traditional costumes and food, and other produce.

“It is also promoted as a special day to bring family members together and friends who have not met in a long time,” he said in a Facebook post today.

Sultan Sharafuddin said the Bon Odori festival became popularised when Japanese companies invested and opened up manufacturing plants in Selangor, adding that it had become a platform to introduce traditional Japanese forms of entertainment.

The sultan said he himself had attended the festival in 2016, accompanied by the then Japanese ambassador to Malaysia. From his observation, he said, it was not a religious event or ritual which could cause the religious beliefs of local attendees to deviate.

He also commanded the Selangor Islamic Religious Department and representatives of the Shah Alam City Council to attend the festival to get the actual picture and ensure that it does not affect the religious faith of Muslims.

He said he did not want certain parties, especially politicians, to use issues that touch on religious sensitivities to serve their personal agendas and to gain popularity.

Sultan Sharafuddin also urged them not to label things negatively without prior study, and said they need to be fair in making public statements that could affect harmony within the community.

The sultan also suggested that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Idris Ahmad attend the Bon Odori festival on July 16 at the National Sports Complex in Shah Alam to understand the difference between a religious and a cultural event.

He said he did not want the minister to use the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) platform to make confusing and inaccurate statements which could tarnish its image and reputation.

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