The cleric applied the ‘kafir harbi’ label to politicians opposed to Sharia. For Mgr Paul Tan, if such words “are not rejected by the authorities, they pose a threat to national security”. Mufti of Perlis state regrets such a remark because not all non-Muslims are enemies.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) – Abdul Rahman Osman, the chief mufti of the Malaysian state of Pahang has branded non-Muslim Malaysians as ‘kafir harbi’, unbelievers who can be killed if they are deemed enemies of Islam.
The mufti’s “remarks are ominous. If they are not rejected by the authorities, they pose a threat to national security,” said an alarmed Bishop Emeritus Paul Tan.
Mufti Abdul Rahman used the expression in a statement he made on 23 June saying that Muslims would be committing a sin if they backed the Democratic Action Party (DAP), an opposition party that draws its supported mainly from Sino-Malaysians.
According to the mufti, people are ‘kafir harbi’ if they oppose a bill that seeks to apply Sharia in the country. Two days later, Rahman went further saying that anyone who opposes Islam should be put to death. Civil society groups and religious leaders responded swiftly.
“I know of no statement in recent years, not even the threat to burn the Bible, that constitutes a clear and present danger to national security as tagging the designation of ‘kafir harbi’ to all those who are allegedly ‘opposed’ to Islam,” said Mgr Tan.
For the prelate, Malaysian authorities must condemn this improper interpretation of Islam, and defuse its violent potential.
DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, said that he could never imagine that such words could come from a mufti, who holds such a high position in Islamic clerical hierarchy. In a statement, he urged Prime Minister Najib Razak to heed Mgr Tan’s comment.
Others agree with the bishop emeritus. "In a country which seeks to uphold the rule of law and declares that all Malaysian citizens are equal before the law, this statement is wholly inconsistent with that objective," said Hermen Shastri, general-secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia.
The chief mufti of Perlis state, Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, also criticised Abdul Rahman Osman, saying that the term "kafir harbi" is reserved for non-Muslims who reject and oppose Islam, conspire with the enemies of Islam and have no peace agreement with Dar-al-Islam (land where a Muslim government rules and the Holy Law of Islam prevails).
"No religion will ask you to kill another person just like that, and that has never happened before. I very deeply regret this type of remark”.