KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 ― Turkish author Mustafa Akyol was detained by local authorities after he failed to turn up for questioning over his involvement in a roundtable talk, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) confirmed today.
Jawi director Abdul Aziz Jusoh said that the department had summoned Akyol for questioning over the roundtable discussion entitled “Does Freedom of Conscience Open The Floodgates to Apostasy?”
Jawi then applied to the Kuala Lumpur Syariah Court to issue a warrant of arrest after Akyol failed to turn up.
Akyol was freed after Jawi questioned him this afternoon and was informed that the event organiser did not notify the writer about the need to obtain proper credentials before delivering talks about Islam in Malaysia.
“Jawi had received complaints from members of the public on Akyol's involvement in a roundtable discussion entitled ‘Does Freedom of Conscience Open The Floodgates to Apostasy?’ last Sunday,” Abdul Aziz said in a statement.
Abdul Aziz said that organisers must ensure that speakers who were invited to deliver any talks relating to Islam should have the proper credentials as required by Malaysian law.
He stressed that failure to do so was a breach of Section 11 of the Shariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997, which states that “any person who teaches or professes to teach any matter relating to the religion of Islam without a tauliah” shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction, faces a fine not exceeding RM5,000, or imprisonment for not more than three years, or both.
The prohibition does not apply to “any person who teaches or professes to teach any matter relating to the religion of Islam in his own residence to members of his own household only”.
In the Federal Territories, “tauliah” is granted by the religious teaching supervisory committee appointed by the Federal Territories Islamic Council.