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Selangor Islamic council against church visit programme linked to Hannah Yeoh's ministry

Mais warns that the programme runs afoul of the state's Islamic enactments.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
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A man arrives to pray at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur in this file picture. Photo: AFP
A man arrives to pray at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur in this file picture. Photo: AFP

The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) has criticised the "Jom Ziarah Gereja" programme in the wake of its defence by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, and questioned its publicity material for not stating that it is only for non-Muslims.

Mais chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof also warned that the programme, organised by an agency linked to the ministry, violates state laws banning the proselytisation of Muslims.

"Mais is of the view that the programme has elements to attract youths, especially Muslims, to learn and gain knowledge related to religions other than Islam.

"Such a programme, if allowed, can subtly influence the thought of Muslim youths so that they become attracted to religions other than Islam," he said in a statement.

Selangor's Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 bans the propagation of religions other than Islam to Muslims.

The church visit programme by Impact Malaysia under its Projek Artikel 11 was attacked by Umno Youth after a poster on it in Bahasa Malaysia was uploaded on Instagram.

The poster was later taken down from the social media platform. 

PAS MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari said while the programme was good in principle, the government should involve religious experts such as from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia or Jakim.

Yeoh later defended the programme, citing past statements from PAS leaders who said there was nothing wrong with Muslims visiting non-Muslim houses of worship.

Yeoh's remarks drew an angry response from PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan, who said the DAP leader had taken statements by PAS leaders out of context.

PAS later said the programme should not be allowed as it could defeat its purpose and spark open protests.

Mais today said any programme that openly encourages the Muslim public to visit non-Muslim houses of worship would only bring more negative consequences.

"While respecting racial, cultural and religious differences in Malaysia's pluralistic society, Mais is of the opinion that understanding, tolerance and unity are crucial to ensuring peace and harmony. Indeed, Islam does not prohibit friendship and tolerance with non-Muslims," he added.

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