PAS tells Mat Sabu to fight back against Syiah allegations

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali called Putrajaya's claim of Mat Sabu's Syiah links as a mere personal attack. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali called Putrajaya's claim of Mat Sabu's Syiah links as a mere personal attack. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — PAS will not probe Mohamad Sabu over Putrajaya’s claim that he has links to the outlawed Syiah movement, and has instead advised the party number two to take appropriate action against his accuser.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali reportedly said the party would not interfere in the matter as it was a “personal attack” against Mohamad and not against PAS.

“Mat Sabu should do something,” he was quoted as telling Sinar Harian Online today, referring to Mohamad by his popular moniker “Mat Sabu”.

“We will not interfere. Mat Sabu should act, take action against the minister.”

He added that the PAS central leadership has not received any reports that any of its leaders were followers of the Syiah Islamic sect, including Mat Sabu.

When asked if the party plans to investigate the accusation against Mat Sabu, Mustafa said he saw no reason to do so.

“We will not do so because there have been no reports. On that, we leave it to Mat Sabu,” he told the Malay language daily’s news portal.

The PAS leader was responding to the accusation by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who had yesterday issued an order on local religious authorities to take action against the former for his alleged links to the Shiites.

Addressing a packed auditorium on the last day of Umno’s 67th General Assembly, Ahmad Zahid - who is also an Umno vice-president - said his ministry will no longer tolerate any elements that are seen as a threat to national security.

“PAS, set aside political interest. This is about akidah (faith) and national security... I am surprised how their party elections installed a Syiah as the number two leader in PAS,” he said in his winding up speech, in a clear reference to Mohamad Sabu.

“We are done lying low. Jamil Khir, KDN gives you the power to take action against (that) PAS leader,” he said to thunderous applause from the over 2,000 delegates.

Ahmad Zahid was referring to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, who is in charge of Islamic affairs.

In response yesterday, Mat Sabu denied the accusation, and claimed instead that he follows the accepted Sunni school of jurisprudence.

“I am a member of the Sunnah Wal Jamaah, a Muslim that follows the teachings of Sunnah Wal Jamaah members,” he told Astro Awani briefly in his journey to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

On Friday, Ahmad Zahid had said a proposal to redefine Islam as “Sunni” in the Federal Constitution would be brought before the government for discussion in a bid to prevent the spread of other Islamic ideologies, including the Syiah sect, in Malaysia.

National newswire Bernama quoted the minister as saying that by inserting the words “Sunnah wal Jamaah” in the definition of Islam in the Federal Constitution, it would ensure that Muslims who follow other ideologies are prohibited from spreading their teachings.

It is widely accepted that “Sunnah wal Jamaah” is the de-facto ideology adopted by the majority of Muslims in Malaysia, though religious authorities have long grappled with pockets of different sects that have taken root across the country.

The Home Minister said the spread of the Syiah ideology is an “issue of faith and national security”, and has been determined by the National Fatwa Council in 1996 that it is a deviant movement that goes against the tenets of Sunnah wal Jamaah, the dominant Islamic ideology in Malaysia.

Yesterday, Umno president and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his party will redefine Islam as “Sunni” in its party constitution.

But several Islamic lawyers have said this would only wipe out the Malay-Muslim identities of non-Sunni Muslims here.

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