PETALING JAYA: Malaysians should be allowed to have the freedom to enjoy the diversity of other cultures and festivals of the various races including the Bon Odori Festival, says G25.
The group of eminent Malays said they were pleased to note that Selangor took a liberal attitude on the festival issue compared to the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and the Penang mufti.
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"G25 is confident that among Malaysian Muslims who participate in these festivals, which presently are purely cultural and not religious, their akidah or faith is not affected in any way," said the group in a statement on Thursday (June 9).
Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had said that the Bon Odori Festival was a cultural celebration and the festival was being held in the state to strengthen ties between Malaysians and the Japanese community.
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His Royal Highness 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.
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G25 added that the Bon Odori Festival had been celebrated since 1977 and it was perplexed that after 45 years it was now in question.
"Malaysia’s greatest asset is its racial and religious diversity and with the openness of our country to foreign trade, education and international travel, we benefit from cross-cultural contacts with the world.
"Let us celebrate this unique cultural diversity to make it a force for national unity, stability and prosperity.
"G25 appreciates the family orientation of the Bon Odori Festival. By bringing families together in a reunion, it is in line with our national aspiration of ‘Keluarga Malaysi’” which is promoted by the Prime Minister," said the group.