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PAS says Penang promoting ‘liberal Islam’


BUTTERWORTH: PAS today said the DAP-led Penang government is using the Penang Institute to spread what it called “liberal Islam”.

Penang PAS chief Muhammad Fauzi Yusof said the state-owned think tank was promoting teachings contrary to Sunni Islam, adding that a state fatwa had declared such teachings as haram.

Fauzi singled out Penang Institute executive director Zairil Khir Johari, saying the DAP MP was promoting “liberalism” in the state government publication, Buletin Mutiara, published twice monthly.

“He has undermined the institution of the mufti and the authority of the Fatwa Committee by his failure to present an explanation for his statements (in Buletin Mutiara) before the committee, despite repeated summonses by the state mufti,” he told reporters at the PAS centre in Pongsu Seribu, Kepala Batas, today.

Fauzi said Buletin Mutiara was propagating liberal Islam while religious authorities were trying to curb its spread.

He said he was worried because the publication is also read by students in religious schools.

“Mosque committees and suraus throughout the state are trying to stop the spread of liberal Islam but it appears that the state government is not bothered.”

He said this proved that the state did not care about Malays and Muslims.

He said DAP and PKR were only focusing on the material needs of Muslims while ignoring spiritual development.

“It is the same method employed by BN – and a shortsighted one – to win the election and retain power,” he added.

Meanwhile, Zairil told FMT that his writings in Buletin Mutiara were objective and based on facts.

“Differing points of view are part and parcel of discourse and debate. Most importantly, they have to have substance.

“I have quoted Islamic scholars and it is up to the people to believe it or not. In fact, they may write back and rebut my points,” he said.

The Bukit Bendera MP said he could not appear before the state Fatwa Committee as he had to attend to the Kampung Mutiara eviction issue in Batu Ferringhi.

“It was last minute. Despite explaining to them, they chose to ridicule me,” Zairil said.

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