KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Malaysia’s Sunni Muslims were today told that the Shiah school of Islam permited sodomy and were called to stop its teachings from spreading as part of their “jihad”, the Arabic word for “holy struggle”.
In its weekly Friday sermon, Malaysia’s foremost Islamic authority issued a reminder that the world’s second-largest school of Islam had no historical links in the Southeast Asian country.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) warned its faithful here that departing from Sunni teachings would cause disunity and fighting among Muslims, which would destroy the bonds of the ummah and end in adherents being conquered by the “enemies of Islam”.
“Remember that any efforts towards halting these teachings is in a sense included in the ‘jihad’ because it counts as defending the sanctity of the religious teachings inherited from our Prophet Muhammad,” JAKIM said in its sermon, which is issued to mosques nationwide.
“Meanwhile, any efforts to breathe life to slander by spreading the Syiah teachings is among the practices which are not only misguided, but also misguiding.”
Shiah is often spelled as Syiah in Malaysia; its followers have been grouped with lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) whom JAKIM has previously branded religious deviants and a threat to orthodox Islam here.
The sermon noted that Malaysian Muslims were able to enjoy peace and prosperity all this while due to the strict adherence to Sunni teaching.
In its sermon, JAKIM described local Shiah adherents to be largely followers of the Twelver school of thought, which it claimed to be the largest branch of the sect, making up some 85 per cent of members.
JAKIM also listed 10 beliefs local Shiah adherents held, which it said included sodomy and praying for the destruction of detractors.
The federal Islamic body and state religious authorities have been redoubling their efforts to flush out Shiah followers, a minority here.
Putrajaya has also refused to recognise the rights of Shiah followers in the recent United Nations human rights peer review, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), citing respect for local norms and beliefs.
The federal government had even set up a special laboratory to tackle and prevent Shiah teachings from spreading and roped in the Education Ministry, the Home Ministry, which oversees the police force, in addition to JAKIM and the Islamic religious departments of the 13 different states.
In Malaysia, each state Ruler has full authority over Islamic religious matters, except in Penang, Malacca, Sabah, Sarawak and the three Federal Territories, which are held under the purview of the country’s King.
After Sunni, Shiah has around 10-20 per cent of Muslims worldwide identifying themselves as adherents, mostly in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bahrain.
Malaysia only recognises the Sunni school of Islam as the official practice, with other denominations deemed deviant sects.