Claiming maligned, Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir wants Johor to drop proposed Friday sermon about it

Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) members protest outside the Johor Islamic Affairs Department in Johor Baru January 8, 2020. — Picture by Ben Tan
Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) members protest outside the Johor Islamic Affairs Department in Johor Baru January 8, 2020. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, Jan 8 — Some 40 members of the Malaysian chapter of hardline Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir marched to the Johor Islamic Affairs Department (JAINJ) today protesting the state’s draft copy of the sermon available to all state mosques for use this Friday.

Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) spokesman Abdul Hakim Othman told reporters that the proposed Friday sermon titled “Hindari fahaman Hizbut Tahrir” (Avoid the ideologies of Hizbut Tahrir) contained allegations that painted an unfair picture of the movement as deviant and extremist.

“The sermon contains some fitnah, factual errors and wrong allegations against the Hizbut Tahrir movement,” Abdul Hakim said outside the JAINJ entrance after a 30-minute meeting with its officials.

He said HTM presented its views that the movement is not against the teachings of the Sunni denomination, which is the only officially recognised denomination in Malaysia.

He added that JAINJ representatives advised him to resubmit the HTM letter to Johor Mufti Datuk Yahya Ahmad instead as sermons were under his jurisdiction.

Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) spokesman Abdul Hakim Othman said that the proposed sermon for this Friday’s prayers unfairly tarnished the reputation of the movement. — Picture by Ben Tan
Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) spokesman Abdul Hakim Othman said that the proposed sermon for this Friday’s prayers unfairly tarnished the reputation of the movement. — Picture by Ben Tan

Abdul Hakim said HTM will follow the advice as it hopes “to stop the mosques throughout Johor in disseminating the sermon for this Friday”.

Malay Mail understands HTM is against six deviant characteristics in the proposed sermon warning Muslims about the movement.

HT is a global Islamic group seeking to recreate a caliphate worldwide. The Malaysian chapter has been banned by Selangor and Sabah to date.

Abdul Hakim said despite the fatwas and strong sentiments against it from Malaysia’s religious authorities, the group is still holding out for a peaceful resolution.

“Whatever it is, we want to settle issues in a proper manner as we are all Muslims.

“We hope that the Johor Islamic Affairs Department will withdraw, as being HTM members we are all guided by the concept of tabbayun and also discussion,” he added, using the Arabic term meaning "to verify or validate facts".

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