Idris should attend Bon Odori Festival, says Selangor Ruler

KLANG: Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has suggested that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad attend the Bon Odori celebration next month.

The Selangor Ruler said this was for Idris to understand the difference between religion and culture.

A statement issued by the Selangor Royal Office on Thursday (June 9) said Sultan Sharafuddin did not want anyone, especially politicians, to touch on religious sensitivities for personal gain and popularity.

“His Royal Highness urges them to not simply label something negatively without in-depth research.

“They have to also be fair when making any public statements that involve communal harmony," the statement read.

ALSO READ: Let Bon Odori Festival proceed, Selangor Sultan tells Jais

It added that Sultan Sharafuddin did not want Idris to use the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) as a platform to make confusing and inaccurate statements that can tarnish the department’s image and reputation.

Idris came under the spotlight after saying Muslims should not attend the annual Bon Odori Festival as it had the elements of another religion in it.

The festival, scheduled to take place at the Shah Alam Sports Complex on July 16, has been held here for decades as a social event for the Japanese community and businesses here to inculcate goodwill with locals.

Sultan Sharafuddin had himself attended the event in 2016 accompanied by the then Japanese ambassador to Malaysia and through his observation found that the Bon Odori Celebrations did not involve religious elements or rituals, said the statement.

It added that the Ruler also said culture practised by all communities in the world had some connection with religion.

“Nevertheless, with the passage of time, these cultural practices no longer highlighted the religious elements," it read.

ALSO READ: Don't deny M'sians opportunity to embrace diversity, PAS minister told after Bon Odori advice

Sultan Sharafuddin was of the opinion that the Bon Odori Festival was a cultural celebration and the festival was being held in Selangor to strengthen ties between Malaysians and the Japanese community here.

“The festival became popular when many Japanese companies invested and opened their factories in Selangor.

“Given this, Bon Odori became a platform to introduce Japanese entertainment culture here to bridge ties between the two nations," said the statement.

It added that Sultan Sharafuddin had also directed the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and Shah Alam City Hall officers to attend the festival to get a true picture of the event and ascertain that it did not tarnish the faith of Muslims.

His Royal Highness also hoped that the multiracial people of Selangor will continue living in tolerance, goodwill and harmony.

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