Johor religious department vows crackdown on Islamic hardline movement Hizbut Tahrir’s ideology

Johor Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Tosrin Jarvanthi (third from left) holds up the state government’s gazette prohibiting the activities of Hizbut Tahrir within Johor. — Picture by Ben Tan
Johor Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Tosrin Jarvanthi (third from left) holds up the state government’s gazette prohibiting the activities of Hizbut Tahrir within Johor. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, Sept 30 — The Johor state government has taken serious efforts to fight the ideology brought by hardline Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir as the latter is seen as going against the teachings of the Sunni denomination and trying to divide Muslim unity in the state.

Johor Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Tosrin Jarvanthi said the state government, through its Islamic Affairs Department (JAINJ), has declared the movement’s Malaysian chapter, Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM), as promoting an ideology that contradicts the beliefs and teachings of Ahli Wal Sunnah Wal Jamaah (Sunni denomination).

“This prohibition on Hizbut Tahrir has been implemented by the Johor State Fatwa Committee and has been gazetted by the Johor government on October 10 last year.

“At present, we have received reports that show Hizbut Tahrir’s ideology can threaten the unity of Muslims and cause confusion in Johor,” said Tosrin during a press conference held at the Iskandar Islamic Centre here today.

Present was JAINJ director Datuk Md Rofiki A. Shamsudin and other senior religious officials.

On the claim by HTM that it is being maligned by the Johor Islamic religious authorities, Tosrin explained that a memorandum by the movement’s representatives sent to the Johor mufti’s office here last Sunday was rejected.

He said the Johor mufti’s office took the stand not to accept the memorandum that sought to clear the air on HTM’s activities as the movement is not officially registered and went against the teachings of the Sunni denomination, which is the only officially recognised denomination in Malaysia. 

“At the same time, JAINJ or the Johor mufti’s office will not seek an explanation from HTM or any of its representatives.

“At present, we will leave it to JAINJ’s Dakwah division to continue to monitor the movement,” said Tosrin, who is also the Bukit Permai assemblyman.

Last Sunday, a group claiming to represent HTM sent a memorandum of protest against the fatwa on the position of the ideology but it was not accepted by the Johor mufti‘s office.

After failing to submit the memorandum, the group then held a live press conference on the HTM’s Facebook page which claimed that the fatwa issued on the ideology was full of slander, lies, distortion of facts and confusion.

Based on this, Tosrin reminded HTM or any other party to be careful when making statements to avoid confusion and division within the community.

Malay Mail understands HTM is against claims by JAINJ that it was deviant and extremist.

Hizbut Tahrir is a global Islamic group seeking to recreate a caliphate worldwide. The Malaysian chapter, popularly known as HTM, is outlawed and considered “deviant” in Selangor and Sabah, with Johor prohibiting the movement’s activities.

Despite the fatwas and strong sentiment against it by Malaysia’s religious authorities, the movement is still holding out for a peaceful resolution.

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