Johor Sultan reaffirms 'Bangsa Johor' concept, says racial, religious diversity always respected


JOHOR BARU: Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar (pic) has reaffirmed the “Bangsa Johor” concept, saying the racial and religious diversity of Johor will always be recognised and respected.

His Majesty said the fatwa issued by the Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAINJ) on Thursday (Feb 2) was in no way in conflict with inter-faith values of tolerance, unity and understanding as espoused under the "Bangsa Johor” concept.

“The fatwa only prohibits Muslims from taking part in other religious rituals. It is a guideline for them. They can still attend festive events of other faiths.

“Other religions must also respect Muslims’ sensitivities. It is a two-way street. We must be sensitive to each other’s religious obligations in order to get along,” His Majesty said in a statement posted on his official Facebook page here on Friday (Feb 3).

Sultan Ibrahim noted that as all religions emphasise good values like compassion, respect, tolerance, moderation and kindness, Malaysians should focus on these common values rather than on our racial or religious differences.

“I hope with this explanation, we can put a stop to any confusion on the new fatwa as it only clarifies what is permissible to Muslims and forbidden in Islam.

“If you’re still confused, please see the Johor Mufti for further clarification,” His Majesty added.

On Thursday, state Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid said Muslims in Johor were allowed to attend celebrations held by people of other faiths, but they should not take part in their religious rituals.

Citing open houses, weddings and funerals as examples, he said Muslims were permitted to attend such events if they were invited.

This is based on the opinions of a number of Muslim scholars who stated that the law of accepting invitations to non-Muslim celebrations, such as open houses, was both necessary and permissible.

“In this context, organisers of non-Muslim celebrations should be sensitive and ensure the sensitivity of Muslims is respected in line with Islam’s position as the federal religion and the official religion of Johor,” he said at a press conference pertaining to the fatwa.

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