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Keep Islam to 'rituals and ceremonies', group protests move to teach hadith module in national schools

MCCBCHST says the move by the education ministry to introduce the subject in schools nationwide is unconstitutional.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek. Photo: Bernama
Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek. Photo: Bernama

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has come out strongly against any move to introduce a subject on a collection of hadith (sayings) of Prophet Muhammad in schools nationwide.

The council said it was "deeply concerned" with the launch of the module "Imam Al-Nawawi's 40 Hadith".

News portal The Malay Mail had earlier reported that the module would be implemented at government and government-aided religious secondary schools before being distributed to schools under the education ministry next year.

"Thus, it will include national-type schools that include students from different religions," MCCBCHST said in a statement.

"The hadith are clearly part of the religion of Islam. There appears to be no provision in our Federal Constitution that allows such Islamic teachings in national-type schools. This may be carried out in Islamic religious schools."

Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek said the module was to foster values contained in the hadith compilation.

"I have no problem with the values in the hadith being brought to schools, and at the same time, we have a great commitment to see our Muslim children truly appreciate the 40 hadith," she reportedly said.

But MCCBCHST said the constitution's Article 3(1) clearly limited Islam's status as the "religion of the federation" to rituals and ceremonies.

"It does not include Islam as an all-embracing concept, as it is normally understood as a comprehensive system of life."

The group said the module should only be taught in religious schools.

"But in national schools, it may be unconstitutional to do so," it added.

MCCBCHST warned the education ministry that any unilateral enforcement of the module would invite court action.

"National schools must be a place where unity is promoted and not divisive policies introduced," it said.

In 2019, MCCBCHST opposed the education ministry's move to teach khat – a form of Arabic calligraphy – in schools nationwide.

The group had then said the teaching of khat would contravene Article 12(3) of the constitution, adding that it amounted to compelling people to take part in acts of worship of a religion other than their own.