KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — An “I’m Muslim, I love Hindus” campaign by the Young Interfaith Peacemaker Community of Indonesia (YIPCI) is a veiled attempt at pushing for religious equality in Muslim-majority Malaysia, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) has alleged.
ISMA information chief Mohd Hazizi Ab Rahman took issue with a photograph of a YIPCI representative, who appears to be a Muslim female clad in a headscarf, holding up a placard that read “I’m a Muslim, I love Hindus” — saying that this could erode the faith of Muslims in the country.
The photograph, which appears to be have been taken during the Thaipusam celebration here on Monday, has since gone viral on social media.
“The conviction of Muslims — that Islam is the only true religion is being blamed as the reason behind racial discord and the cause of disharmony,” said Mohd Hazizi in a statement published yesterday on Ismaweb.net.
“The baseless accusations have been successful in convincing a group of Muslims to feel guilty and to be apologetic over something that does not exist and to get involved in campaigns that could destroy their faith,” he added, referring to the Indonesian group’s interfaith initiative.
Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, with over 200 million of its people subscribing to Islam.
Mohd Hazizi said that such campaigns,which claimed to push for multi-religious harmony are largely backed by foreign funders to convince Muslims that other religions are equal to Islam.
He did not provide evidence to back up his allegations.
Mohd Hazizi said it was “strange” to launch such a campaign as Muslims have been the target of insults and persecution by non-Muslims in many countries worldwide.
“It is strange that there is the ‘love other religions campaign’ targeted at Muslims, when, in reality, Muslims are the victims of religious hatred in Palestine, Myanmar, France, Netherlands, in the African continent and other countries,” he said.
He also claimed the ongoing campaign in commemoration of the “World Interfaith Harmony Week” to convey ones’ love for non-Muslims “has serious implications on one’s faith” as it would cause Muslims here to question their religious beliefs.
“Muslims involved are advised to refer to experts on Islam, so that such action can be avoided in future,” said Mohd Hazizi.
ISMA’s assertions, made ahead of Indonesian leader Joko Widodo’s maiden visit here as president today, could add to the thorny issues testing bilateral ties with Malaysia.