More steps to be taken to prevent spread of non-Muslim religions to Muslims, says deputy minister

Jerry Choong
·2-min read
Ahmad Marzuk said Putrajaya will request the states which already have enactments to control the propagation of non-Islamic religions to Muslims in place to further enhance their enforcement activities. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Ahmad Marzuk said Putrajaya will request the states which already have enactments to control the propagation of non-Islamic religions to Muslims in place to further enhance their enforcement activities. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary said the respective state governments will take steps to ensure that religions other than Islam will be further limited in propagating their beliefs to Muslims.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said the Federal Constitution already empowers the states and the Federal Territories to amend their laws to control and curb the propagation of non-Muslim religions.

“This power is derived from Article 11(4) of the Constitution, which stipulates that everyone has the right to worship and practise their faith as they see fit, but may not propagate or influence others into practising their religion,” he said in a Facebook post.

To this, Ahmad Marzuk said Putrajaya will request the states which already have enactments to control the propagation of non-Islamic religions to Muslims in place to further enhance their enforcement activities.

“We are also in the process of tabling the enactment for the Federal Territories, which I informed Parliament on November 26 last year,” he said.

Ahmad Marzuk also sought to allay the concerns of the wider Muslim public, in wake of the High Court’s ruling on Wednesday that the 1986 ban on the usage of the word ‘Allah’ in Christian publications is unconstitutional and invalid.

“Many are concerned as to what will be the fate of the Muslim ummah following this decision. From a legal perspective, there are differing views on the usage of the word ‘Allah’, with some permitting it while others forbidding it.

“In this, I am in agreement with Marang MP Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who said we should not forbid its usage altogether by non-Muslims but that there should be a limit. Indeed our main concern is the attempts by some non-Muslims to use the word ‘Allah’ to spread their teachings to Muslims,” he said.

The Pengkalan Chepa MP said the intent of using the word ‘Allah’ should be scrutinised, not just as a matter of faith but to determine the intent of its usage.

“If the purpose of using the word ‘Allah’ is to confuse or offend Muslims, then there must be boundaries set on how the word is to be used.

“Everyone has a role to play in ensuring the harmony and unity of the country. We should respect the basis that has been laid down in the Federal Constitution,” Ahmad Marzuk said.

Wednesday’s ruling also saw the High Court rule in favour of Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, affirming her constitutional rights to not be discriminated against in the practise of her faith.

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