Vetting of foreign Muslim preachers a must — Abg Jo

Abang Johari (sixth left) presents the prizes to Hamim as (from left)
Julani, Antonio, Ripin, Ahmad Lai, Abdul Aziz and others look on.

Abang Johari (sixth left) presents the prizes to Hamim as (from left) Julani, Antonio, Ripin, Ahmad Lai, Abdul Aziz and others look on.

MIRI: The government though the state Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) is keeping a close watch on foreign Muslim preachers with no proper credentials to prevent the spread of deviant teachings here.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said such vetting of background of unknown foreign preachers was crucial as to not jeopardise the existing racial and religious harmony in the state.

“Last March, police disclosed that there was a deviant sect known as Millah Ibrahim (Cult of Abraham) from Indonesia, of which members had attempted to set its roots here, particularly in areas close to the Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

“Police also detected that the group had moved around from Kuching and Simujan to spread deviant Islamic ideology,” he said in his address when closing the division-level Tilawah Al-Quran programme at Kampung Bakam multipurpose hall on Friday.

Abang Johari, who is also Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, said the followers of Millah Ibrahim had been propagating, among other things, that there were other prophets who came after Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

As stated in the Quran, Prophet Muhammad was the last of the long line of prophets in Islam since Prophet Adam.

The sect, Abang Johari said, also advocated Muslims against visiting the cemetery during the month of Ramadan, as well as reciting the ‘tahlil’ (recitation of Quranic verses and prayers for the dead) and ‘qunut’ (a specific verse recited during Subuh – or dawn prayer), which Millah Ibrahim claimed as ‘bida’ah’ (practices said to not have exised during the time of Prophet Muhammad).

“State government opens its doors to any preacher wanting to spread the true teaching of Islam in Sarawak.

“However, we will not hold our silence when some preachers come with the intention of destroying the religious harmony here. Thus, any organiser or Muslim preacher, particularly the foreign ones and those from unknown sources, must notify Jais at least two weeks before coming the state to hold their programmes.”

On this matter, Abang Johari reminded Muslims in Sarawak to be more alert when attending talks or sessions especially those on Islamic teachings conducted by foreign preachers.

This was because some of the points delivered by them might not be suitable for practice here, since Muslims in Malaysia are followers of As-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah – the guidelines principally based on the Quran and actions by Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime.

In view of that, he urged Muslims here to strengthen the existing unity among them.

Later, Abang Johari announced a government grant of RM50,000 for organising religious activities for Muslims here.

Meanwhile, Hamim Mohd Sahib and Farah Liza Mohd Musa were named ‘Best Qari’ (male reciter) and ‘Best Qariah’ (female reciter) of the programme, where Sibuti MP Ahmad Lai Bujang, Lambir assemblyman Ripin Lamat, political secretaries to chief Minister Julani Mokhtar and Sarkawi Suhaili, Miri Resident Antonio Kahti Galis and organising committee chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf were also present.