The groundbreaking ceremony for MIC’s new upcoming building had a few prayers read in different faiths.
Recently, a video of MIC’s groundbreaking ceremony went viral. It caught the attention of PAS’ Ulamak Council who expressed their concern.
Here’s all you need to know about the issue.
The Multifaith ceremony
Last Monday (21 August), MIC held a groundbreaking ceremony for their new building, next to their current one in Jalan Ipoh.
The new building will comprise two towers with construction to take place over the next four years.
The ceremony was also held to celebrate their 50-year anniversary since the first MIC building was built in 1973.
However, the ceremony’s opening, based on a live stream feed shared by Makkal Osai on Facebook, appeared to include a recitation of prayers of different religions, since MIC doesn’t only consist of Hindu members.
Apart from rituals conducted by Hindu priests and a pastor leading a prayer, a man was seen reciting a doa (Muslim prayer).
What possibly caused an uproar was that the man who read the doa was sitting in front of the congregation of the Hindu priests during their ritual.
PAS – Concerns Over Religious Practices
PAS’ Ulamak Council (DUPP), led by Datuk Ahmad Yahaya, expressed strong concerns over the ceremony. Ahmad Yahaya criticized the mingling of religious practices and that each faith’s beliefs and rituals should be distinct from one another.
Beliefs, practices, rituals, and principles of each religion must be distinctly separated and should never be mixed together.Datuk Ahmad Yahaya, DUPP Leader
It should be prevented from being ridiculed, played around with, or used as decoration or event entertainment, let alone insulted.
The primary concern here is the normalization of religious pluralism, which should be prevented from proliferating in this country.
He also said that religious authorities should take action for this kind of situation and advised the MIC leadership and organizers of the program to seek proper guidance before doing any rituals, especially those involving Islam.
Yesterday (23 Aug), the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) said in a statement that they will be investigating a ceremony to determine whether any Islamic rules or fatwas were violated. If so, any violation would result in legal action and penalties.
They did not however specifically mention which ceremony they were referring to.
“Any wrongdoings related to matters of faith could lead to legal action and penalties under Act 559, the Sharia Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997,” the statement said.
They also reiterated that even though harmony and tolerance between religions are encouraged in Islamic teachings, all parties must refer to the religious authorities before initiating any practices to ensure they follow the principles of the Shariah law.
In response to the investigation and claims, MIC issued an official statement.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) component party explained that their intentions were only to celebrate the event and get blessings for the successful milestone of their new headquarters complex and that they never meant to mock or insult any faith.
As the Indian community comprises different religions, they just wanted to hold prayers for members of different faiths so that the building project would be blessed diversely.
As we are all aware, the Indian community comprises of Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. We held prayers for this building project to take off well.Thinalan T Rajagopalu, MIC Information Chief
Apart from Hindu prayers, we also held prayers by the Muslims and Christians as the community is comprised of Indian Muslims and Indian Christians too. All these prayers were done for the groundbreaking ceremony.