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Selangor Islamic authority warns again on politicians using mosques as Fahmi explains photos

But the minister's denial that he touched on politics in a mosque was met with more negative comments.

Staff Writers
3 minute read
Fahmi Fadzil speaks inside a mosque in Selangor. The PKR communications chief says he was invited by the mosque to explain the gay kiss incident during a concert in Sepang on July 30.
Fahmi Fadzil speaks inside a mosque in Selangor. The PKR communications chief says he was invited by the mosque to explain the gay kiss incident during a concert in Sepang on July 30.

Selangor religious authorities have again warned politicians against using mosques for campaigning purposes ahead of the coming state polls, a day after PKR communications chief Fahmi Fadzil was photographed speaking inside a mosque in Kuang, Selangor.

"Politicians found using mosques or surau in Selangor for purposes not allowed by the Sultan of Selangor and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) are deemed to have insulted, disobeyed, and violated the orders of the Sultan of Selangor and the regulations of Mais, and they can be subjected to action under Section 12 (a) or (b) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995," said Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) director Mohd Shahzihan Ahmad in a statement.

He said political parties are barred from giving speeches, lectures, or sermons, as well as distributing pamphlets and posters within the vicinity of mosques.

It is the second such warning issued by Jais in just a few days, as the election campaign gathers steam in Selangor, which will see some of the biggest showdowns between the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) alliance and Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Yesterday, photographs of Fahmi, who is also the communications and digital minister, addressing a small group of people inside the prayer hall of a mosque in Kuang were uploaded to a Facebook page linked to PAS.

"Even BN (Barisan Nasional) candidates were present. What action has the Selangor Islamic Religious Council taken on this matter? Don't stay silent just because their team is the caretaker government. Prove that we're transparent," said a message accompanying the post.

Fahmi, in his response, said he had visited the mosque to perform his Zohor (noon) prayer, adding that it was closest to the venue of his programme.

Fahmi also claimed that he was "invited" by mosque congregation members to give his comments on the gay kiss incident involving British band The 1975.

"Since I was already there, I was asked by the mosque's congregation to briefly explain The 1975 issue. There was no mention of any other topic. The worshippers in the mosque can bear witness to the event," said Fahmi.

He also said an eyewitness had earlier uploaded a video of his speech, only for it to be removed by the Facebook page owner "to perpetuate bad perceptions and slander" against him.

But his explanation drew more negative reactions on his Facebook page.

"Don't defy the orders of the ruler, Fahmi Fadzil. Just obey," said Mohd Shahrizan.

Another comment from Hasmi Gibran said Fahmi should have declined the invitation to speak "to avoid issues like this".

"If a candidate visits a mosque and talks about The 1975, is it permissible? It's not even a campaign," jibed Irwan Ramli.

Shamsul Omar, meanwhile, said Fahmi already has a wide selection of mediums available to explain the gay kiss incident.

"Not enough with information channels on social media, TV, and newspapers. Not enough with billboards on main roads and slots on government TV counters. Not enough with entering public universities to provide 'explanation'. To the extent of coming to speak at mosques and surau."

Kuang is a state seat won by Bersatu in 2018. This time, the constituency will see a three-cornered contest involving PH-BN, PN, and incumbent Sallehudin Amiruddin, who is standing as an independent candidate.