Protests in Malaysia against hate-mongering Muslim cleric
Ustaz Syakir Nasoha's sermon is accused of spreading hatred against Buddhists, Hindus and the Dayak community
Malaysian Muslim cleric Ustaz Syakir Nasoha is accused of making a controversial and hatred-inciting sermon on social media (Photo: Ar-Rahman TV/YouTube)
A leading interfaith forum has joined religious minorities in Malaysia to lodge a strong protest against a Muslim cleric who is accused of spreading hatred against minority groups on social media.
In a statement, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) called for strict action against Ustaz Syakir Nasoha for a controversial sermon on social media site TikTok, reports Herald Malaysia.
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Syakir is Muslim preacher based in Kedah state with a track record of spewing hate speech against minority groups.
The MCCBCHST said in a one-minute viral video released on Oct. 2 that Syakir claimed that in the last days on earth the enemies of Islam will swarm Muslims like how crowds of people swarm a tray of food, and this is how the non-believers or kafir [infidels] are swarming Muslims today. He said Buddhists and Hindus are bombing mosques and killing Muslims in Thailand, India and Pakistan.
Syakir has released other hate-mongering videos, reported The Vibes. The viral video on TikTok was taken from a long sermon broadcast on March 17 by Ar-Rahman TV. In December 2017, he released a video of a sermon he delivered at the Abu Bakar As-Siddiq mosque in Kedah state that was accused of breaching peace and causing harm to Malaysians.
The MCCBCHST said it was deeply perturbed at the extremist, racist and hatred-filled video clips by the Kedah-based preacher against other religions.
We, the non-Muslims, are fed up of being targeted. Enough is enough. This is a deliberate attack on non-Muslims
The videos aim at sowing hatred and inciting Muslims against Hindus, Buddhists and the Dayak community as well as against other non-Muslim religions. This is equivalent to instigating harm against peaceful Malaysians. The ustaz is a threat to the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of Malaysians, the group said.
The MCCBHST pointed that the preacher's words are an offense under Section 298A of the Penal Code and under the Communication and Multimedia Act — spreading ill-will among different faiths in Malaysia.
It urged Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and relevant authorities to take stern action against Syakir in accordance with the law.
Meanwhile, protests have erupted in various parts of Malaysia with minority and rights groups calling for the preacher to be punished.
Thousands of police reports were being lodged against Syakir in 17 districts nationwide including Sabah and Sarawak states, local media reports say.
The Vibes reported that 3,000 police reports were underway. Global Human Rights Federation president S. Shashi Kumar said several non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and activists would file cases.
We, the non-Muslims, are fed up of being targeted. Enough is enough. This is a deliberate attack on non-Muslims. So, we are lodging these police reports because we want this preacher to be arrested immediately and charged, Shashi said after filing a case at Sentul district police headquarters.
There are many cases where those who insult and defame non-Muslims are only arrested but not charged.
Shashi also urged the government to table a bill in parliament to stop religious and racial hatred to protect the unity and harmony of all Malaysians.
Malaysia is multi-ethnic and multi-religious country with its constitution declaring it a secular state. However, observers note there has been a creeping radicalism within powerful segments of the Malay Muslim-majority community that aim to assert a strong Islamic identity for the nation.
According to 2018 government estimates, more than 60 percent of some 32 million Malaysians are Muslims, about 20 percent are Buddhists, 10 percent Christians and 6 percent Hindus.