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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 — PAS’s party newspaper Harakah has hit back at former religious affairs minister Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa, telling him to take responsibility for his statement regarding cosmetics entrepreneur Nur Sajat instead of suing over it.
In their statement of defence provided to the media by their lawyers, the defendants, Harakah reporter Aziz Muda; its editor-in-chief Wan Nordin Wan Yaacob; and its online portal harakahdaily.net operator Galeri Media Serbanika Sdn Bhd said they had no malicious intent when publishing scathing articles in February that Mujahid said made him look bad in the public eye.
They said they were only carrying out their duties as media practitioners and that Mujahid should not be offended by the criticisms hurled at him by the public in connection with the Nur Sajat’s trip to Mecca to perform the minor pilgrimage of “umrah” in female attire.
“The defendants asserted that they were under political, moral and social obligations to disseminate the different views of the people pertaining to the issue as it also involved the concepts of ‘rahmatan lil alamin’ and ‘amar maaruf nahi mungkar’,” the statement said.
It was referring to two concepts in Islam, “mercy to all mankind” and “promoting good and preventing evil”, respectively.
Mujahid is suing Harakah for articles released on harakahdaily.net on February 7 titled “Sajat: Mujahid dan K’jaan PH patut dipersalahkan” (Sajat: Mujahid and the PH government are to blame).and another one titled “Keterlanjuran Sajat kesilapan Mujahid dan kerajaan PH” (Sajat’s overbearing ways is Mujahid and the PH government’s fault) published on Harakah newspaper dated between February 10 and 13.
The Parti Amanah Negara vice-president claimed that the articles in question were defamatory and malicious in order to tarnish his dignity, credibility and reputation at the material time as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, among others.
The Parit Buntar MP said that the articles implied he was the man responsible for Nur Sajat wearing a telekung, a type of attire worn by Muslim women during prayer, during the pilgrimage.
Apart from claiming general damages, Mujahid wanted Harakah to publish an apology, remove said articles from publication, and make sure these sort of reporting does not happen to him again.
The defendant’s lawyer, Yusfarizal Yussof, said the statement of defence was sent in on September 28 while Mujahid’s lawyer Noorazmir Zakaria said the next case management was set for October 23 via e-review and that the plaintiff had also responded to the defendants’ statement of defence last Friday.
Nur Sajat was criticised on social media after photos and videos of her performing the pilgrimage went viral.
Muslims who complained mostly took issue with her wearing women’s clothes during the pilgrimage and performing the rituals as a woman among female pilgrims, as they accused her of not being a woman.
Mujahid had then requested for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to take prompt action following the uploading of numerous photos and video of her “umrah” by Nur Sajat.
Nur Sajat continues to be hounded by authorities and some in the public over her gender identity.