Gerakan says don't force Islam on Johoreans

A suggestion to close shopping malls and entertainment outlets in Johor for two hours on Friday is akin to force-feeding Islam to non-Muslims and will turn off others, Gerakan said.

Its vice-president Dominic Lau Hoe Chai said his party was opposed to Johor executive committee member Ayub Rahmat's call for such an extremist move.

News reports said Ayub Rahmat had aired this suggestion on the grounds that it would greatly benefit Muslims, help them avoid being distracted from attending mosques on Fridays.

Lau said in a statement he regretted hearing such a remark and was dissatisfied.

"By forcing Islamisation, this will only increase the fear and rejection of non-Malays of Islam. This is detrimental to the country and the BN," he added.

He cited the example of a 'vegetarian' Buddhist who would not force others to turn vegetarian.

"Buddhism will not force its followers to eat vegetables for it is up to the understanding and acceptance of the follower himself," he said, warning against mixing religion and governance in multi-racial Malaysia.

"I would like to reiterate that if religion is brought into policy making, this will only present a chance for politicians and opportunists to gain attention.

However, it will neither help the country's development nor public unity," Lau said.

The Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ismail also stirred up
debate last Saturday with his decree that from next year, Johoreans should celebrate Fridays and,Saturdays as weekend.

Lau commented that he, however, respected this decision as it was made by the Johor Sultan and the state government.





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