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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Federal Islamic authorities cautioned Muslims today against street protests that it said would invite liberalism, just a week before the Bersih 5 rally which will be held on November 19.
The Friday sermon prepared by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) expressed its concern that more Muslims are joining street protests driven by discontent, allegedly spurred by unnamed parties and uncensored social media statements.
“Yes, whether we realise or not, therein lies an idea of the liberal democracy ideology that is concealing itself behind the struggle for democracy and fundamental rights,” said the sermon distributed to mosques nationwide.
“The truth is, they wish to install certain individuals who are ready to follow their orders and spread this ideology to make this society more open to accept liberal values.”
Jakim said Islam endorses mass gatherings as part of its worship as a sign of protest against blasphemy and ignorance, but such events must be done with civility.
It also claimed that from a political Islam perspective, Persian theologian and jurist Al-Ghazali has never declared that “street riots” were consistent with Islamic teachings.
Jakim said even Al-Ghazali, who served the vizier Nizam al-Mulk during the times of the Seljuk Empire, did not seek revenge through street demonstrations when the latter was assassinated.
“Therefore, encouraging the public to become extremists is an attitude that is opposed to Islam’s teachings, because Islam puts prosperity and peace as a bigger obligation,” said the sermon.
The sermon also urged Muslims to defend the country’s sovereignty, saying that conflicts will invite the interference of foreign powers.
Liberalism encompasses a wide array of ideas, but its supporters usually push for civil rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, free trade, private property, and free and fair elections.
Jakim regularly demonises liberalism in its Friday sermons, including calling for “jihad” or holy struggle against liberals in March last year.
Deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki also said in November 2015 that the RM724.6 million set aside for Jakim this year was not sufficient to combat “extremist” ideologies, which had included liberalism.