A forum yesterday on the “kafir harbi” controversy heard three panelists defending the Pahang mufti’s use of the derogatory term, while an academic and an Amanah leader urged Muslim leaders to exercise restraint and wisdom.
“I’m worried that non-Muslims will be frightened and this was shown when some of them asked me if their blood was now considered legitimate,” said Amanah vice-president Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus, who spoke at the forum “Kafir Harbi: Relevant or not?” organised by Ikram, at the Islamic Science University of Malaysia (USIM) in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, last night.
The panel also included Umno Youth’s main reference for Islam, Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya, Jakim officer Zamihan Mat Zin, senior fellow at Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia (Iksim) Engku Ahmad Fadzil Engku Ali and International Islamic University lecturer, Dr Maszlee Malik.
Pahang Mufti Datuk Abdul Rahman Osman recently said DAP and those against the PAS president’s private member’s bill to amend laws to allow heavier penalties under Shariah were “kafir harbi” (non-believers at war with Muslims).
The remark drew strong condemnations, including one from the Muslim Professionals Forum who said the term “kafir harbi” was archaic and not suitable in the present context.
Hasanuddin said it was not wise to take an antagonistic approach, saying if indeed DAP was proven as anti-Islam as charged by some quarters, the Muslims have a duty to explain to them.
Starkly contrasting with Hasanuddin were Fathul and Zamihan, both of whom defended the Pahang mufti’s use of the term.
Zamihan said “kafir harbi” was still relevant and could still be used to describe those who fight Muslims, but added that it did not necessarily mean one should kill them if their approach was non-violent.
Engku Ahmad, meanwhile, took a potshot at Amanah, urging the party not to be influenced by DAP who he said was clearly against Islam.
“The DAP constitution clearly states that among its focus is to establish a secular state.
“Secular means there is no role for religion,” he added.
Maszlee meanwhile said it was the government’s responsibility to clear the air over the kafir harbi controversy.
“Our responsibility is to reach out to them (non-Muslims) and not simply condemn them,” said Maszlee, adding that non-Muslims as equal citizens should not be lumped into the “kafir harbi” category.