KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — Malaysians have religious freedom, but are restricted from propagating it to Muslims in the country, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad emphasised today.
The prime minister added that the restriction holds true for Muslims who follow he Shiah teachings as Malaysia officially follows the Sunni school of Islam.
“If they want to become Buddhist or Shiah, it is their right; so long as they don't spread the teachings among Malaysian Muslims or ahli sunnah,” he told a press conference in Parliament.
Dr Mahathir was responding to the forced cancellation of the Amman Message seminar organised by the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies that was supposed to take place this Saturday.
Police said the event was called off following a Facebook bomb threat by anti-Shiah groups.
Dr Mahathir said such an occurrence should not have taken place to express their views.
“Well, that is not the proper way to do it,” he said.
Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa said he was invited to officiate at the event before it was cancelled due to the bomb threat.
“It was cancelled based on the advice by the security forces. I was informed that a post on Facebook had threatened they would bomb the venue and I don’t think the security wanted to take chances,” he told reporters.
The seminar was scheduled to be held on July 13.
The event was co-organised by the International Movement For A Just World and consultancy firm Zubedy.
The Amman Message was a declaration signed in Amman by Jordan’s King Abdullah II in 2004, bringing together some 200 senior Islamic scholars worldwide who represent different schools of thought.
The document recognises the validity of all eight Islamic schools, including the two biggest denominations in the Muslims world, Sunni and Shiah.