Don’t defy ban on politics in mosques, warns Sultan

Heart for the people: Sultan Ibrahim (right) sharing his views on current issues in Johor with Star Media Group Bhd advisor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai (centre) at his Majesty’s residence in Johor Baru. Also present is The Star’s news editor Nelson Benjamin. — Photo courtesy of Johor Royal Press Office

JOHOR BARU: The Sultan of Johor has warned politicians not to defy the directive from Rulers to stop using mosques and surau as political platforms or to attempt to undermine the royal institution.

Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar said certain politicians had crossed the line.

“Focus your attention on resolving the people’s burdens, such as the cost of living, meeting daily needs, their struggles to pay their household bills and economic concerns,” the Ruler said in an exclusive interview in conjunction with his birthday today.

“What are you doing to alleviate the flood problems which occur every year? Tell us what are you going to do about it?

“Instead of dividing the people by harping on race and religion, tell me what are your plans to bring harmony,” he said.

His Majesty said mosques and surau were prohibited from being used to spread political speeches.

“If anyone dares to challenge this directive in Johor, try it and see the consequences,” he said.

The Ruler also said that a prohibition order against political talks had been sent to about 850 mosques and 2,000 surau throughout the state.

Mosques and surau should serve as information centres for dakwah (Islamic propagation) and places for religious talks by certified lectures and speakers, besides being a place for worship, Sultan Ibrahim said.

“If political talks are allowed, it will create uneasiness and disunity among Muslims.

“Do not tell me that politics is part of Islam and politicians can talk freely,” he said, adding that he had a responsibility as the head of Islam in the state to protect the sanctity of the mosques.

Sultan Ibrahim also explained why speakers on Islam or religious teachers who deliver lectures needed to be accredited.

“Johor wants quality preachers as we know some preachers have become stand-up comics with emphasis on jokes and entertainment rather than Islam.

“You can find them on YouTube. I am sure they know who they are and who I am referring to,” he said.

The Sultan also expressed his displeasure over a religious teacher, purportedly a Member of Parliament, who had made derogatory remarks against the country’s royal institution.

The speaker had allegedly said that the Sultans, the Prime Minister and ministers were all beneath religious scholars.

State police chief Comm Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat has said that 16 police reports have been lodged against the preacher.

“I will leave it to the police to investigate. This is clear evidence why politicians shouldn’t talk politics in mosques,” he added.

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