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G25 Defends Remark On Khalwat

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PETALING JAYA – The G25 group of moderate Muslims has defended its statement on khalwat law by saying that it is an illustration of its stand against moral policing.

In a statement released on its website yesterday, the group expressed its concern over the statements made by a number of religious officials and other individuals who had condemned or even issued threats against Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin following the comments she made last Sunday at a press conference after the Islam in a Constitutional Democracy forum organised by G25.

“We wish to emphasise that the statement concerning khalwat law was merely an illustration of our stand against moral policing which was one of the issues highlighted in our open letter addressed to the Prime Minister dated Dec 7, 2014.

“We had also raised our concern in the open letter about the current situation where religious bodies seem to be asserting authority beyond their jurisdiction, where issuance of various fatwa violate the Federal Constitution and breach the democratic process of shura and where those who hold different opinions on religious issues are accused of being anti-Islam, anti-monarchy and anti-Malay and most importantly, where the use of the Sedition Act hangs as a constant threat to silence anyone with a contrary opinion.

“These developments undermine Malaysia’s commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law, breed intolerance and bigotry, and have heightened anxieties over national peace and stability.”

The group reiterated that the purpose of last Sunday’s press conference was to explain and elaborate on the G25 Statement of Reaffirmation and the proposed creation of a consultative body for the harmonisation of Syariah laws and the Federal Constitution.

At the event, G25 spokesman Noor Farida also said the group remained opposed to Syariah laws that intruded into the private lives of people, giving khalwat law as an example and adding that Malaysia was the only Muslim country with such a law.

Several political and religious leaders criticised her for being ignorant about Islamic teachings and urged her to stop making statements that could mislead Muslims.

“The G25 will work towards making Malaysia a model for the world as a moderate, harmonious and progressive Islamic multicultural democracy and beacon of tolerance,” said the statement.

The group reaffirmed its commitment to uphold the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the nation as well as the principles of the Rukun Negara, which promote mutual respect for and understanding of Malaysia’s diverse cultural and religious traditions.

In addition, it promised to continue to “promote the Islamic principles of justice, compassion, mercy, equity and moderation and work towards the realisation of the Quranic principles of Maqasid Al Shariah and Wasatiyyah”.

“We wish to emphasise that our call for a rational and informed discourse on the administration of Islamic laws in this country should not be seen as an attempt to demean Islam or the religious authorities. Rather, it is to protect and engender respect for Islam,” the statement added.

G25 also pledged to uphold the role and position of the Sultans over Islamic affairs and Malay customs as provided for in the Federal and State Constitutions. – The Star Online

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