malaysia

Sabah bans Hizbut Tahrir, Shiah, Ahmadiyya… also liberalism, pluralism

File picture showing Hizbut Tahrir members waving flags and shouting slogans during the 2015 Muktamar Khilafah at the Hotel Nouvelle in Seri Kembangan, on October 3, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaFile picture showing Hizbut Tahrir members waving flags and shouting slogans during the 2015 Muktamar Khilafah at the Hotel Nouvelle in Seri Kembangan, on October 3, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaKOTA KINABALU, Aug 8 — The Sabah state fatwa council has today banned 16 “deviant teachings”, which not only included hardliners Hizbut Tahrir and the minority Shiites and Ahmadis, but also “liberalism” and “pluralism”.

Assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Mohd Ariffin Arif said the 16 teachings were decreed to be against the Sunni denomination of Islam.

“Those that are banned are the teachings of Qadiani, Al-Arqam, Hizbut Tahrir, Millah Abraham, Shiah, Tal Tujuh, Tarikat Hasaniah, Tariqat Naqsyabandiah al Aliyah, Nasrul Haq, Zikir Hasan Riimau, Awang Rezki, liberalism and pluralism,” he said in the Sabah legislative assembly today.

Shiah is the second largest Muslim denomination in the world after Sunni. Qadiani is the derogatory name for Ahmadiyya, a minority Muslim movement which is considered heretics by mainstream Muslims, and declared “deviants” in Selangor.

Hizbut Tahrir is the hardline pro-caliphate Muslim group, similarly banned in Selangor. The radical Al-Arqam movement was already outlawed in Malaysia since 1994.

Meanwhile, liberalism and pluralism have become the catchphrase used by Islamic authorities to target ideologies, organisations and individuals that departed from the sanctioned religious narrative.

Mohd Ariffin said the Ahmadis have been found in Sandakan, Beaufort and Kota Marudu as well as in the state capital in smaller groups, while Hizbut Tahrir members can be found in Sandakan.

“The Sabah Islamic affairs department, the police, the Quran text division, Home Ministry and other agencies have been monitoring the activities of these groups,” he said this in response to a question by Sebatik assemblyman Datuk Abdul Muis Picho.

Ariffin said eight followers of the Millah Abraham movement from Kuala Lumpur were arrested by the state islamic authorities, and were brought to Shariah court there this year.

“The state has been taking proactive steps in trying to curb these deviant teachings by education and preaching,” he said, adding that they acknowledge that extremist teachings has been spreading and posed a threat to society.

In Malaysia, only the Sunni denomination of Islam and its Shafie school of jurisprudence are considered official.

Study by the Pew Research Centre showed Malaysia continues to strictly control religious practices, with an annual study grouping it together with other Muslim-majority countries practising “very high” restrictions, such as Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and Turkey. 

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