23 May 2013

Haram to topple government through violence

By Zurairi AR

NILAI, May 22 – The National Fatwa Council reiterated a "fatwa" declaring demonstrations and rallies to topple government through violence as "haram" (forbidden) yesterday, becoming the latest Islamic body to comment on the issue.

The religious edict comes just days after Muslims nationwide were told in an official Friday sermon last week that it is "haram" to rebel and fight against the nation's leaders, including by protesting their decisions through "illegitimate channels".

"Any rallies which can break the unity of citizens are not compatible with Islam," the council's chairman Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Abdul Shukor Husin told Malay daily Sinar Harian here.

"This is forbidden. The Fatwa Council have issued a fatwa declaring such actions haram during the Bersih 2.0 rally. So, it should not be repeated."

In July 2011, the council had declared the Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections as "haram", a call which was repeated in May 2012 for the Bersih 3.0 sit-in rally in Dataran Merdeka.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also bashed street demonstrations today in a post on his blog, mocking those who demand for new elections and re-count after losing in the polls.

According to the veteran statesman, organisers of such rallies know that if their demonstrations are big enough, the police force will be powerless to act against them fearing resistance and violence if they do.

"The net result would be continuous turmoil in the country. There would be no growth. Poverty will spread. The country may have to beg for aid or borrow. In the end it loses its independence," said Dr Mahathir.

"Perhaps it would be better if governments are chosen through street demonstrations. It would probably be less fraudulent."

This council's remark yesterday follows a series of rallies called "Black 505" which are being held nationwide by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to protest the results of Election 2013, which have led to PKR's Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad being charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 last week.

Student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim also has been detained under Section 4 of Sedition Act 1948 and Section 124(b) of Penal Code, that his lawyer believes is due to his remarks at a forum on May 13 where he allegedly said that Malaysians "cannot wait for five years to overthrow Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN)".

The sermon last Friday had stressed that disaster and Allah's wrath might rain down on those who continue their protests against leaders who have proven themselves in preserving Islam and peace.

"Rebelling against leaders and to fight them, the verdict is haram (forbidden)," said the Friday sermon by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) that was uploaded onto its official website.

JAKIM backed its argument by quoting Muslim clerics Imam Nawawi and al-Mawardi, who wrote in his tome "al-Ahkam al-Sultaniah" that obeying leaders also includes obeying appointed peacekeepers such as the nation's police force.

On May 8, thousands of PR supporters packed the Kelana Jaya stadium in Petaling Jaya to rally for free and fair elections, just days after the BN coalition retained power by winning 133 federal seats against PR's 89 seats.

Similar rallies have already been held in Penang, Johor, Perak, Pahang, Negri Sembilan and Kedah, with two more rallies in different states planned for this week — Terengganu and Malacca.


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