JOHOR BARU, Dec 21 — Minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri today reminded his fellow Muslims in Malaysia to verify all information they receive before making a judgment less they unwittingly spread fake news.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department was weighing in on the case of a Johorean woman Illi Najwa Saddique who is being investigated by the authorities after internet users questioned her religious status following her recent wedding to Indian hockey captain Manpreet Singh Pawar.
“In this case, the woman and her family members are much more aware of the real situation of what happened, including her religious status and that of her partner,” Zulkifli said in a statement, without naming the woman or her husband.
National news agency Bernama had yesterday reported Zulkifli’s deputy, Ahmad Marzuk Shaary as saying that the government will question Illi Najwa over her religious status as soon as she returns home from India.
Zulkifli said any action that can cast aspersions on another should be avoided.
“I would like to advise myself and all Muslims in Malaysia to be careful in dealing with any issues that occur with care.
“A Muslim should do his best to ensure that other Muslims remain in his religion instead of trying to remove them from Islam,” said the former Federal Territories mufti.
Zulkifli said he has been informed that the Johor Islamic authorities are still investigating the matter.
“I hope we are patient and will wait for an explanation from the Johor religious authorities. I am confident that any form of crisis can be resolved wisely and prudently,” he added.
He explained that in Malaysia, the law does not allow marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims.
He added that Muslim couples who wed abroad must submit their marriages for regisration either to the Malaysian diplomatic mission in that country or to the local religious authority after returning to Malaysia.
He also explained that an individual’s religious status is covered under Article 160 of the Federal Constitution, where a Malay is defined as a Muslim.
Therefore, he said it is not easy for anyone to punish someone who is an apostate Malay only by news reports that are not verified.
Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ismail had also weighed in on the case earlier today, noting that Illi Najwa had been subjected to trial by social media, despite having never said that she intends to leave Islam.
He urged Malaysians to avoid making assumptions and refrain from commenting prematurely on the case.
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