No need for blanket ban on church, temple visit, says interfaith group
The group says under the constitution, without any propagation involved, the act of visiting a non-Muslim house of worship was not an offence.
PETALING JAYA: An interfaith group has called on the government and Islamic authorities not to impose a blanket ban on Muslims from visiting non-Muslim places of worship.
Instead, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) suggested that authorities make it clear that there should not be any attempts to propagate other faiths to Muslims.
The council was responding to the Selangor government’s recent move in prohibiting Muslims from entering non-Muslim houses of worship.
Selangor religious affairs exco Zawawi Ahmad Mughni was reported to have said that while Selangor welcomed programmes organised by NGOs to foster tolerance, such activities should adhere to guidelines set by the Selangor Islamic religious department (Jais).
He added that Jais will monitor and take action against those who violate this rule under Sections 5 and 6 of the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment.
However, MCCBCHST said these programmes aim to foster an understanding of different cultures and involve zero propagation of religion.
It also said that the enactment cited by Zawawi was enacted under Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution which only prohibits the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.
The group said if there was no propagation of other faiths to Muslims, then there would be no offence committed.
“Therefore, the mere act of visiting a (non-Muslim) house of worship cannot be an offence,” it said in a statement.
Two days ago, former religious affairs minister Zulkifli Al-Bakri – who had visited churches, temples and gurdwaras in the past – called for guidelines on visits to houses of worship to foster greater harmony among Malaysians.
Outline · [ Standard ] · Linear+
No need for blanket ban on church, temple visit, s