PUTRAJAYA, Sept 28 — Shiah followers are infiltrating federal and state religious departments to manipulated religious policies in their effort to take over as Malaysia’s foremost school of Islam, a local Muslim non-government organisation (NGO) leader said today.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s (ISMA) Mohamad Ismail told a thousand-strong audience at a symposium on foreign agenda here that followers of Shia are sowing discord among political leaders and Islamic religious scholars, or ulama, by trying to brand and discredit those who are anti-Syiah as followers of the fundamentalist Wahhabi movement.

“They will apply for jobs in religious departments... That is their target, how to enter religious departments and take over, so that they can determine policies,” said the preacher.

“When they are successful in taking over, they will sow discord between rulers and Sunni ulama... They will bring up the issues of mazhab,” added Mohamad, who heads ISMA’s Shiah research unit, referring to the Islamic schools of religious jurisprudence.


Shia, also spelled as Syiah locally, is Islam’s second largest denomination after Sunni. The latter school is widely practised in Malaysia and is the only one recognised by the government.

The Facing Foreign Agenda Symposium (MEGA), with the theme “Malay Leadership Crisis”, is jointly organised by Muslim NGOs, ISMA and Pembina, and is held at the Dewan Seri Siantan here.

In the first dialogue session this morning, the symposium discussed five threats against Muslim Malays, which they have identified as Syiah teaching, an alleged “invasion” of the Chinese, free trade agreements and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), Americanisation, and Christianisation.


This comes as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom announced this week that the government has set up a special laboratory to tackle and prevent the spread of Shiah teachings among the people in the country.

Among the agencies involved in the laboratory were the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM), state Islamic religious departments, Education Ministry, Home Ministry and the police, he said.

In August, the chairman of the Kedah Council of Regency, Tan Sri Tunku Annuar Sultan Badlishah had asked Muslims in the nation to unite in combating the spread of Shiah teachings.

Tunku Annuar said the state government should also be firm in tackling the issue of Shiah teachings, which had been rejected by the National Fatwa Council and respective state fatwa committees.

“Malaysia is an Islamic country which practises the Sunni teachings and any other teachings which are in conflict with ‘hukum syarak’ are prohibited,” he said.

Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya had also advised Muslims in the country against marrying Shiah followers to “protect the harmony” of Sunni-majority Muslims in the country.

Shiah is the second-largest sect in Islam after Sunni, with around 10 to 20 per cent of Muslims worldwide identify themselves as a follower, mostly in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bahrain.