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Sunday October 23, 2011

Himpun makes a stand against apostasy

SHAH ALAM: The planned gathering of a million Muslims saw only a few thousand people showing up at the Shah Alam Stadium here, but organisers said they had met their objective of defending the faith against threats of apostasy.

Arguing that the spirit of those present at the Himpunan Sejuta Umat (Himpun) assembly was more important than the number, chief organiser Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid said it was a success as it proved that Muslims could come together to talk calmly about issues affecting their religion.

“We are not concerned about the numbers,” he said after the four-hour gathering that started at 2pm yesterday.

Show of faith: Himpun participants holding a banner at the Shah Alam Stadium Saturday.

“It can be a small number but the spirit is the same, whether one million came ... or one hundred thousand or one thousand,” Mohd Azmi said.

“This rally is a symbol of Muslim unity, of Muslim determination to keep the country free of religious tension,” he said.

“We conducted the gathering without any feelings of animosity towards non-Muslims,” he said, adding that the nation's founding fathers had advised against attempts to proselytise Muslims.

Mohd Azmi also stressed that it was the right of Muslims to stand up against what they saw as an encroachment on Islam, which is accorded a special position in the Constitution.

“This is the right of the Muslims.

“We are not intruding, we are not transgressing, we are not violating the rights of the non-Muslims,” he said.

In keeping with Muslim tradition, the men and women sat separately in the stadium to hear speakers urging the followers to remain faithful to their cause.

Banners strung across the stadium read:

“Say no to apostasy, don't challenge the position of Islam” and “Together let's prevent apostasy”.

Nasyid and dikir barat groups entertained the crowd, who also heard recitals of the Quran and Islamic poetry.

Selangor executive councillor Datuk Dr Hasan Ali led the crowd in a prayer to close the event at around 6.15pm.

Among others at the event were Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali, former Perlis mentri besar Datuk Sri Shahidan Kasim and Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria.

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