KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Muslims should learn from the mistakes made by the Catholic Church in Europe and not accuse someone of apostasy without proof to back up such a claim, Perlis mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has said.
He explained that history showed that this was mistake made by the church when it punished reformists in Europe.
In a Facebook posting last night, Mohd Asri shared an old article he wrote, stressing that Islam should be upheld through dialogue and reasoning and not for the purpose of simply punishing people “in the name of God.”
“Accusing someone of apostasy actually needs further inspection and concrete evidence,” he said.
Repeating the mistakes of the Catholic Church was “unwise” and could result in pushing people away from Islam, Mohd Asri explained.
“Accusing others of apostasy is just repeating what the Catholic Church did,” he said.
The Perlis mufti’s remarks come amid a renewed debate on atheism and apostasy in Malaysia, after a recent gathering by the Kuala Lumpur chapter, or “consulate”, of the Atheist Republic.
The gathering has caused uproar from some in the Muslim community recently after it was highlighted by pro-Islamist blogs, leading to violent and death threats on social media.
Deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said yesterday Putrajaya will investigate the local group, even roping in the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, as it allegedly involved the faith of Muslims in the country.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had even said that atheists in Malaysia should be “hunted down” by authorities, allegedly since there is no place for groups like this under the Federal Constitution