KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — Penang Mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor said that a recent religious conversion ceremony presided by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should not be turned into a polemic.
Wan Salim urged the public to remain calm over the matter as he said Anwar attended the event out of spontaneity, which he believed was to fulfil an invitation by certain quarters when he was at the mosque in Klang, Selangor, Malaysiakini reported.
“Basically, the prime minister’s action in presiding over the religious conversion of a citizen should not be made a polemic.
“Perhaps he did that just to fulfil an invitation.
“But in order to avoid any controversy, such duty should only be left to any religious authority of NGO especially dakwah (preaching) groups, because the prime minister has many other heavy responsibilities that he has to attend to,” he was quoted as saying.
Wan Salim also hoped the issue would not create discomfort in the country’s multicultural society.
“I also hope the conversion of this youth to Islam will not cause uneasiness, and his relationship with his family members and friends will not be severed,” he was quoted as saying.
Earlier it was reported that Anwar participated in a ceremony when he was at the Ar-Rahimiah Mosque in Klang, where he presided over the conversion of a Hindu youth to Islam.
The prime minister was at the mosque for Friday prayers after he went to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang to visit the families of the recent aircraft crash victims.
Several NGOs, including the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) criticised Anwar for presiding over the ceremony.
According to KLSCAH, while Article 11 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion for the people, Anwar as prime minister should not openly preside over religious conversion ceremonies for individuals of other ethnicities.
“This action not only causes discomfort among non-Muslim communities but also leads to confusion among the people,” said KLSCAH.