|Wednesday, 07 November 2012 17:40|
The former prime minister, responding to questions on the issue, noted that Muslims should not change their religion. KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir today took a swipe at Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar over her controversial statement on the freedom to choose religions among Malaysians, even Malays.
"We are Muslims. We cannot change our religion.
"As for others, they are, how do you say…their beliefs may allow them to change (religions). We should not be too influenced by western ideals," he said.
Dr Mahathir said if such freedoms were permitted, it could lead to racial tension, including among those who share the same religion.
"If we are free to do this and that, in the end we end up creating films which insult other religions and as a result, fight among ourselves," he said.
"So don't end up being too enamoured by western ideologies. Men can marry men, women can marry women, and the family is destroyed," he said.
Nurul Izzah had come under heavy fire from various quarters following her statement made at a forum on Saturday.
The Lembah Pantai MP had attended a forum titled 'Islamic State: Which Version? Whose Responsibility?' as a panellist. In the question and answer session, one of the questions posed to her was on the issue of Islam being imposed on Muslims.
Malaysiakini had, on Saturday, quoted Nurul Izzah as saying that people should not be compelled to adopt a particular religion, with the same applying to Malays.
The mainstream media subsequently highlighted her statement, which led to outcry from various quarters. Among them were religious scholar Ustaz Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya, who attributed her statement to ignorance.
He claimed that Nurul Izzah had made the statement without having sufficient religious knowledge, and said it could have implications on Muslims in the future and steer them instead towards pluralism ideology.
However, she received support from Prof Madya Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin who said she had explained to him what she meant.
Nurul Izzah's father, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, had come to his daughter's defence and claimed that the controversy was a "desperate measure to attract the attention of the Malays."
Nurul Izzah, meanwhile, has since defended her statement, and denied that she had trivialized the issue of Islamic faith and that she supported apostasy. She stated that her answer had stressed on the Quranic verse 'there is no compulsion in Islam', and expressed her disappointment that there were quarters attempting to twist her statement.
The Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) had stated that it would not hesitate to call up the MP to give her statement if there is information that she had gone against the rulings of the National Fatwa Council.