JOHOR BARU, Feb 3 ― Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar today said the new fatwa against Muslim participation in the other faiths’ rituals would not alter the racial and religious diversity espoused in the “Bangsa Johor” concept.
He explained that the fatwa the Johor Islamic Religious Council issued yesterday did not conflict with the state’s inter-faith values of tolerance, unity and understanding, adding that Johor would always respect multiracialism and religious diversity.
“The fatwa only prohibits Muslims from taking part in other religious rituals. It is a guideline for them. They can still attend the festive events of other faiths.
“Other religions must also respect Muslims’ sensitivities. It is a two-way street. We must be sensitive to each other’s religious obligations in order to get along,” he said on Facebook today.
He was commenting on to the fatwa that some saw as restricting Johor’s progressive values as it did not differentiate between religious acts, cultural events and folklore.
In light of the fatwa and its guidelines, Sultan Ibrahim pointed out that as all religions emphasise good values like compassion, respect, tolerance, moderation and kindness.
“Malaysians should focus on these common values rather than on our racial or religious differences.
“I hope with this explanation, we can put a stop to any confusion on the new fatwa as it only clarifies what is permissible to Muslims and forbidden in Islam,” he said.
Sultan Ibrahim then advised Muslims who were still confused to consult with the state mufti for further clarification.
Yesterday, the fatwa detailed guidelines for Muslims in Johor on celebrations held by people of other faiths.
Johor Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid was reported as saying that Muslims should not take part in religious rituals of other faiths.
He said this is based on Sultan Ibrahim’s consent to the fatwa.
Under the fatwa, Muslims were prohibited from participating in non-Islamic celebration rituals, whether in houses of worship or elsewhere.