Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Perak Mufti Harussani and the Silibin Conversion SMS

I'm not indulging in any mufti-bashing here. But I have to say that it was definitely a bad move on Harussani's part to bring up an unsubstantiated rumour to the muslim NGOs - some of which he must surely know are fairly excitable when it comes to "perceived" provocations against Islam. Things like apostasy, conversion of muslims and imaginary crosses on Paddle Pops are very volatile issues in the current climate.

A person of his experience should have known that those NGOs would (1) over-react, and (2) spread the rumour. And if I were amongst those he spoke to - why wouldn't I believe the words of such a senior mufti reflects more truth than rumour? And is it not reasonable for me to believe that by his telling me (of the coming incident), he was subtly reminding me of my duty to act?

Influential religious leaders like Harussani need to cast a wider net. He needs to realise his words and actions affects people deeply. Not only might he spur Malaysian muslims into action - but that those actions affect the lives of all Malaysians. Matters pertaining to the religion of the country invariably affects the entire country.

I am just disappointed that he doesn't quite grasp how he can use his revered standing in the muslim community to reconcile the sad state of current multi-religious affairs in Malaysia and draw the various communities closer.

The media quotations below are consistent with his interview on rtm1.


Harussani said the woman had sent him an SMS message on Oct 21 to give the time and place of the alleged baptism. He asked her to meet him at his house.

“She came with her husband a day before Hari Raya,” he said, adding that she brought along compact discs and documents that purportedly disclosed that Azhar would be at the church to baptise the Malay students.

Harussani claimed he handed all the information to the police and the Special Branch for their investigation.He said he raised his concerns over the allegations with representatives of Muslim NGOs at the state mosque here on Nov 2.

“What I revealed was meant to stay within the confines of the meeting. I did not know that those present would pass the word around.
Sisters In Islam programme manager Norhayati Kaprawi said the Perak Mufti should have kept the information of the alleged baptism ceremony to himself if he had doubts about the authenticity and validity of the claims.

“He should have kept the information to himself and submitted it only to the police for further investigation.

“He should not have disseminated the unverified outrageous claims to other Muslim NGOs in a mosque,” she said in a statement here yesterday.

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