Official: TMJ bans political discourse in all suraus, mosques in Johor

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

JOHOR BARU, Jan 17 — Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has prohibited all the state’s suraus and mosques from being used to spread political dakyah (propaganda) and discourse, said Johor Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid.

He said the order by Tunku Ismail, who is also the Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAINJ) chairman, is in accordance with Section 96 of the Islamic Religious Administration Enactment (State of Johor) 2003.

“I would like to stress that any organisation of political programmes in the mosque cannot be implemented at all. Action will be taken against any parties that compromises and allows for political programmes to take place.

“In addition to that, any activities in the form of religious talks, usrah (group discussions), sharing of religious knowledge or others must first obtain authorisation and approval from the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ).

“All speakers who deliver lectures and share religious knowledge also need to be accredited and officially recognised by MAINJ,” said Mohd Fared to reporters after a special meeting of the council at Bukit Timbalan here today.

Mohd Fared also noted that the council’s approval was essential, and that the prohibition of political talks in mosques must be given taken seriously.

He said guidelines regarding the prohibition will be placed in all 850 mosques and 2,000 suraus throughout Johor as soon as possible.

Mohd Fared said MAINJ will also met with the all mosque and surau chairmen, state assemblymen and leaders of every political party in the state in an effort to explain the prohibition.

“Besides places of worship, the mosque also functions as a place for the development of da'wah (missionary activities) and the dissemination of (Islamic) knowledge through programmes by certified speakers.

“The mosques also become a gathering place for Muslims to hold religious ceremonies, meetings and activities related to the unity of the community.

“However, mosques and suraus are now being misused by some insensitive parties when religious programmes are mixed with political elements, causing misunderstanding and division among Muslims,” said the Semerah assemblyman.

Mohd Fared also said there were parties who hide behind religious programmes by using the ceramah stage and lectures in mosques to introduce slanderous elements meant to spread certain political beliefs.

He then explained that the prohibition and ban was not unprecedented, as Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had in previous years ordered that the sanctity and dignity of any mosque and surau in the state be maintained.

In 2019, Sultan Ibrahim ordered MAIJ to act against mosque officials who provide a platform for politicians to conduct activities in mosques because despite several reminders, there exists a tendency for such matters.

He made clear that mosques in Johor are a zone free of political ideology, as mosques were for the people to obtain peace and tranquillity as they get close to Allah.