KUCHING, April 4 — It is improper to judge others based on their religious beliefs and to label them as ‘kafir’ (infidels), said Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The tourism, creative industry and performing arts minister said the term has a derogatory connotation.

“I don’t think people who are not of the same faith would like to be called that.

“Likewise, those from other faiths such as Christianity, Hinduism, and so on, if they were to call others as non-believers or infidels, it’s also the same. There’s a little bit of connotation,” he told a press conference here today.

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He was asked to comment on the recent issue surrounding Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, who received brickbats from netizens after a video of her purportedly rejecting the use of the word ‘kafir’ at home went viral.

Abdul Karim said religion can unite people but at times also divides humanity.

“But we must bear in mind that whether a person is a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist, we are all created by the Almighty God.

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“So, you cannot just say that because you are Muslim, then other people’s religious beliefs are not equal to yours. Why must we be condemning others that they are ‘kafir’,” he said.

He pointed out every person has the right to practise their religion.

“You practise what you wish to practise, and I practise what I wish to practise.

“It does not have to be crossing the boundary and telling others mine is the best and yours is not good. That should not be the way,” he stressed.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Fadhlina said the viral video on social media related to the issue of ‘kafir’ was taken out of context, in a malicious attempt to mar her image and credibility.

She clarified that the video was a clip taken from her private meeting with a certain group, which was then used by another party and disseminated with an interpretation to create division and defamation.

She also said spreading the video sought to cause a commotion on issues related to the 3Rs (religion, race and royalty) by distorting the true meaning of her speech so that she would be blamed with hate speech, false accusations, and slander besides threats to her safety. — The Borneo Post