Pahang mufti has declared hostilities, says Bishop Emeritus Paul Tan

Catholic Bishop Emeritus Paul Tan Chee Ing described Pahang mufti Abdul Rahman Osman's designation of those who opposed Islam as kafir harbi as an “ominous development which if not swiftly repudiated constitutes a threat to national security”.

“I know of no statement in recent years, not even the threat to burn the Bible, that constitutes a clear and present danger to national security as this designation by the Pahang mufti as kafir harbi all those who are opposed to Islam,” said the prelate, who is a vocal exponent of human rights issues, particularly those pertaining to freedom of religion.“Prior to this, it was thought that only those who fight against Muslims in lands Muslims rule or from territories contiguous with Islamic territories are designated kafir harbi,” opined Bishop Paul.

“But now with what the Pahang mufti has said, even those who merely oppose the application of hudud for offences against syariah law are lumped with those who wage rebellion or aggression against Muslims,” he elaborated.

“This is an expansive interpretation of a bellicose term which serves notice to large sections of non-Muslims and Muslims alike in Malaysia that it is legitimate for defenders of the faith to kill and maim them because they are kafir harbi,” he expatiated.

Bishop Paul said that it is incumbent upon those in authority in Malaysia to denounce this interpretation as a threat to national security because of its potential to foment violence against law-abiding citizens.

“If this interpretation is not repudiated and if its author not hauled up for sedition, the present law against sedition is void of all meaning,” he asserted.

“Already that law is being applied against sundry critics of the powers-that-be in a farcical manner.

“If the Pahang mufti is not hauled up for his incendiary definition, it will represent a travesty of the law,” he said.

Bishop Paul said the Pahang mufti has “imported the sectarian furies tearing apart large swathes of the Middle East into Malaysia by airing a definition of a volatile Islamic term that is tantamount to a declaration of hostilities against sections of the Malaysian public.”

“This utterance of his must be renounced and he charged with spouting sedition as otherwise this polity will have crossed into territory that is fraught with peril to normative notions of civility,” he said.- Malaysiakini