Malaysia ruling party cracks down on Shias

Malaysia is a mainly sunni Muslim country

Malaysia’s ruling party Umno has voiced its opposition to Shia Muslims, gays, lesbians, trans-sexuals, liberals and those who have insulted Islam, saying the government should set up a commission to protect the country’s official religion – sunni Islam.

The country’s largest party has tabled a resolution to amend Article 3 of the Federal Constitution to only acknowledge Sunni Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.

Umno also wants the government to set up a commission to preserve the supremacy of Islam by going after those it considers anti-Islam including those on the Internet and social media.

Penang Umno delegate Shabudin Yahaya said the commission will also go after those it considers deviants such as cult members, homosexuals and those they accuse of spreading “liberalism”.

The national level commission he said, would harness the power and authority of all State Muslim Councils.

“With such a council, we will ensure that no one spreads Shia teachings, the beliefs of other deviants such as Tuhan Harun and also things such as liberalism.

“No one will also dare listen to the azan (call to prayer) while performing ablutions with their dogs and no one will dare post on Facebook that they are breaking fast with bak kut teh (a soup),” said Shabudin in his speech when tabling the resolution.

Tuhan Harun is a cult whose members are active in Pahang and suspected as being behind the fatal shooting of a Pahang Religious Affairs Department officer.

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During the fasting month in August, a Muslim dog trainer was fined by the Johor Religious Department after she put up a video of her performing ablutions with her dog while the azan played in the background.

In the same month, a non-Muslim couple sparked nationwide controversy when they uploaded a photo of them on Facebook having dinner with the caption, “Happy Breaking fast with bak kut teh”.

Malaysia is a multiconfessional country with Islam being the largest practiced religion, comprising approximately 65% Muslim adherents, or around 19.5 million people.

Malaysia’s law is based on the English common law. Sharia law is applicable only to Muslims, and is restricted to family law and religious observances. Therefore, there has been much debate on whether Malaysia is a secular state or an Islamic state.

The number of Shia Muslims in Malaysia is thought to be very small and the overwhelming majority of sunni scholars throughout history have always considered Shias to be Muslims. A minority have taken the opposite view.

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