G25 calls on Putrajaya to make clear stand against religious bigotry

A launderette in Muar, Johor, has done away with its Muslim-only policy following a dressing-down from the Johor sultan. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 11, 2017.

MALAY group for justice and human rights, G25, has called on the government to take a clear and firm stand against religious extremism and bigotry, as the Malay rulers have done in their call for moderation.

G25 called on the government to decisively end the rise of religious extremism, intolerance, and bigotry not only among individuals and groups, but also within the religious enforcement agencies and independent preachers.

“We are concerned by the ambiguity of certain Syariah criminal laws and the lack of accountability of religious institutions and authorities. 

“The time is opportune for the Federal and State Governments to review the Syariah Offences Acts and Enactments which give religious authorities broad powers and which are seriously lacking in clear definitions which can be abused and indeed, have been abused. 

“The Federal and State governments need to urgently monitor their respective religious departments to ensure that they do not abuse their powers and perpetrate injustice. Those who are guilty of abusing their powers must be held accountable.”

The Malay rulers yesterday spoke out against religious extremism, endorsing the Johor and Perlis sultans’ decision to prohibit Muslim-only launderettes. 

“In recent weeks, the actions of certain individuals have gone beyond all acceptable standards of decency, putting at risk the harmony that currently exists within our multireligious and multiethnic society,” the Malay rulers said in a statement.

The rulers said the stance demonstrated the sultans’ commitment to “ensure Muslims behave with respect, moderation and inclusiveness” in a country that is home to people of diverse faiths and ethnic groups.

G25 said it was proud and grateful that the Conference of Malay Rulers had stood up as one against the extremism that was spreading in Malaysia.

“We are so thankful that our Rulers have not remained silent, where others have. The Majlis Raja Raja Melayu have taken a crucial leadership role both in the name of protecting the good name of Islam and to safeguard, not only racial harmony, but against an existential threat to the Nation,” it said in a statement today.  

“G25 wholeheartedly supports the Malay rulers’ condemnation of the actions of individuals and groups who, in the name of Islam, put the harmony that exists among Malaysia’s multi-ethnic and multi-racial society at risk.”

It said these actions reflect an ever-increasing move away from a moderate Islam and a moderate Malaysia as espoused by the Malaysian government to the world.

“Action also needs to be taken against those who promote hatred, mischief and disunity. In our efforts to progress from a developing nation, it is indeed a sad day when hate speech, bigotry and discrimination can take place with impunity, thus encouraging offenders to influence others. 

“This attitude of racial and religious supremacy is not only divisive but will have a negative impact on the social, economic and political stability of the country.” It urged Malaysians to join in the call for a more tolerant, respectful and inclusive society.  

“The Majlis Raja Raja Melayu have spoken. Let us as citizens give our wholehearted support in words and actions.” – October 11, 2017.

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