KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — Muslims are obligated to verify news items before sharing these with others to avoid propagating fake news, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) said in today’s Friday sermon.
According to the prepared text, people were increasingly abusing social media and other communication tools to spread falsehoods, defame others, speculate to entertain themselves, and to mock others.
It said those engaging in such activities were even gaining popularity and followings online.
Citing the Quran, it said Muslims have a duty to investigate their news so they do not spread untruths, even if inadvertently.
Jakim discouraged Muslims from spreading news that can cause animosity among the different communities or trigger inter-religious tension.
“Verification can help us process facts and truths more accurately so we won’t hurt or damage any parties.
“A peaceful and harmonious society who thinks positively of one another is the basis of progress and national unity,” it said.
Jakim also said that it is better to spread good news or stories that have a positive impact and benefit to the community as a whole.
The federal government is preparing to introduce laws against fake news.