KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — Police have told critics of an Islamic sermon read during Friday prayers that warned Muslims of Valentine’s Day last week to cease their mockery or face stern action.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said such detractors, especially non-Muslims, do not have the right to comment on Friday sermons for Muslims.
“I give the final warning and reminder to those who try to cause public anger, because that matter can threaten their safety,” he was quoted as saying by local daily Utusan Malaysia, in a warning against attempts to incite religious tension.
In its official Friday sermon available online last week, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) blamed the celebration of Valentine’s Day for causing social ills such as fraud, abortion, baby-dumping and alcohol consumption.
It said that the celebration of love weakens the Muslim identity especially among the young, and threatens the future of the Muslim community as a whole.
Jakim has consistently opposed the celebration of Valentine’s Day among Muslims, claiming it was rooted in Christianity.
The global celebration was banned during the 71st meeting of the National Fatwa Council Committee for Islamic Affairs in 2005.
An anti-Valentine’s campaign called “Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap” has also been held by Jakim since 2011, in which volunteers approach youths to warn them of the celebration’s alleged danger.
Originally a celebration of a Christian saint, Valentine’s Day has long taken a commercial nuance to celebrate romantic love and is vastly popular in East Asia.
In separate report by Berita Harian, Khalid said the police will use an anti-terrorism law against anyone who try to cause religious tension.
Khalid advised Malaysians to exercise their freedom of expression prudently, warning that they would otherwise face the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) — a law which replaced the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960.
“After this, we will not hesitate to take action on them using Sosma,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay-language daily.
He also noted that statements that touched on religious and racial sensitivities could provoke anger and ultimately threaten national security.