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Sunday August 18, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday August 18, 2013 MYT 11:27:36 AM
In the news: The entrance to the resort in Sedili Besar, Kota Tinggi in Johor where the surau is housed.
PETALING JAYA: Former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has called on the villagers near a resort in Tanjung Sedili Besar to reconsider calls to demolish the surau which was used by a group of Buddhist to meditate.
“Why do we need to demolish the surau? If they do no want to use the surau any more, it can be used for other purpose and activities,” he said yesterday.
Dr Asri noted that in the history of Islam, since the days of Prophet Muhammad, many churches had been turned into mosques.
“In Malaysia just because a religious ritual of a different faith was conducted in a surau, it faces the risk of being demolished. We must change our mentality,” he added.
Islamic Renaissance Front founder Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa also questioned the call to demolish the surau and urged Muslims not to over-react on everything touching on Islam.
Muslims, he said, should stop their “siege” mentality.
“During the prophet Muhammad’s time, a Bedouin man came into a mosque and urinated. The prophet prevented his companions from taking any actions against the Bedouin or from tearing down the mosque just because it had been desecrated.
“We should not over-react just because a group of Buddhists had meditated in a surau,” he said.
Journalist and publisher Datuk A Kadir Jasin has also urged Muslims not to be too emotional over the issue to the point of wanting to tear down the surau.
He said with greater understanding of Islamic practices, even non-Muslims have provided space for surau.
On Johor Religious Department adviser Datuk Noh Gadut’s statement that the main reason why the surau might be demolished was because of its wrong prayer direction (kiblat), Kadir said:
“Even if the kiblat is not aligned to the Kaabah, instead of demolishing the surau, one should just realign the prayer mats to the right direction,” he said.
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