Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim says he feels sorry for Selangor Muslims after Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad was found guilty by the state’s Shariah Court of teaching Islam without credentials.
Zaid said the outcome meant that Muslims in the state must not talk, teach or comment about Islam at all, as they ran the risk of being prosecuted under the same provision invoked on Khalid.
The former Umno MP for Kota Bharu, now with DAP, said it signalled that Muslims may only speak about Islam with written permission or “tauliah” (credentials) from the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais).
Giving an example, he said if a Muslim’s neighbour who had just converted to Islam asked him what verse to use for morning prayer, he would need credentials before being able to help.
“If a curious student in your school asks if there are similarities between Islam and other religions, you must not respond until you get your tauliah with respect to comparative religion.
“Don’t give any advice or talk about Islam unless you are from Jakim (Malaysian Islamic Development Department), Jais or Jawi (Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department).
“Perhaps you are also not required to have a tauliah if you are an Umno or PAS leader,” he said in his blog today.
“In fact, the safest thing to do is to shut your mouth. Do not talk about Islam or anything connected with the Arabic culture because you may run foul of the law.
“Talking about or discussing these Islamic matters may be construed as teaching or propagating Islam without their permission.”
On Sunday, the Selangor Shariah High Court upheld Khalid’s conviction, but reduced the amount of fine imposed by the lower Shariah Court in Klang, from RM2,900 to RM1,900.
Khalid had been found guilty of teaching Islam without valid credentials when delivering a talk at a surau in Taman Seri Sementa, Klang, in 2011, contravening Section 119 (1) of the Selangor Islamic Law Administration Enactment.
The Amanah communications director claimed he had been invited to the surau to speak about his trip to Palestine, not to give a religious lecture.
Zaid claimed that Jais and the Shariah Court were not interested in explaining what the term “teaching” meant in this instance.
“Unlike the discipline imposed in the training of lawyers under the common law system, where terms are exhaustively defined to give clarity, shariah institutions and the Shariah Court need not bother about such methods,” he said.
“You see, since the law and the courts are labelled ‘shariah’, justice is done ipso facto (by the very fact) because it’s a superior law.”
Zaid also said it was disappointing that the issue had transpired in Selangor, which is led by PKR, a party touted to be focused on reforms.
“It’s clear that when it comes to matters of Islam and Islamic institutions, it matters very little if you are living in states led by PKR or PAS or Umno,” he said, accusing the state government of being unwilling to approach the ruler for a “more progressive, responsible and open-minded interpretation of Islam”, or engage with Jais or Jakim on Islamic reforms.
“Votes are obviously more important, especially now,” he said.-FMT