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‘Un-Islamic to forbid non-Muslims from joining Iftar’

PENANG – The Civil society organization of Penang State face is facing hard time with opposition after saying that non-Muslims, like Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should not be allowed to break the fast together with Muslims.
“It is un-Islamic to forbid non-Muslims from joining Muslims to break fast,” Penang state assembly man Abdul Malik Abul Kassim stated yesterday.
Mr Abdul Malik, criticized the statement made by civil society organisation Jaringan Muslimin Pulau Pinang (JMPP, or Penang Muslim Group), and assured that it is not wrong for Non- Muslims to participate in breakfast events.
He said: “All Muslims and non-Muslims shouldn’t be confused by his statement which was against Islamic teachings.”
Concurring with Mr Abdul Malik was Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who said those who wanted such a ban made Islam look “stupid”.
“The actions by this Islamist group gives a stupid face to the understanding of Islam, as per the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Prophet,” Mr Saifuddin said.
Mr Saifuddin, who is also strategic adviser to Mr Lim, said Islamic teachings are simple and while fasting is wajib (obligatory) only for Muslims, when the Muslims are joined by non-Muslims in breaking of fast, it is harus (an act that is allowed).
“We need to put this in a right perspective as having Muslims and non-Muslims together in breaking fast can promote unity and harmony amongst the races.”
Earlier, JMPP Chairman Mohamed Hafiz Mohamed Nordin criticised Mr Lim for breaking fast with Muslims. He said the Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general should convert to Islam first, if he wanted to break fast with Muslims. He added that a kafir (non-believer) from DAP should not lead Penang.
The former Penang Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) Youth Chief also held a demonstration outside the Simpang Enam Mosque last Friday to demand that Mr Lim be forbidden from attending any breaking of fast events for the entire fasting month.

Meanwhile, United Malaysia National Organisation (Umno) Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin over the weekend urged religious departments to help the poor instead of focussing on arresting Muslims who skip fasting during Ramadan, a punishable offence under Syariah law.

Dr Abdul Malik, the assemblyman too condemned the Friday incident during which Mr Lim’s information chief Zaidi Ahmad was slapped by one of the JMPP demonstrators led by Mr Mohamed Hafiz.
“What they did gave a bad image to Islam as they had acted violently against Zaidi for no apparent reason,” he said, adding that Mr Zaidi had only approached the demonstrators to talk to them.