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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Don't pick on the khatib, Umno should apologize to Guan Eng


Zahid Hamidi
Malaysia Chronicle

Pakatan Rakyat leaders are demanding that Umno, especially its vice president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, apologize to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and the state religious authorities for accusing them of replacing the King’s name with Guan Eng’s during Friday prayers at mosques in Penang.

“This is the month Ramadan. Umno should be pure-hearted about it and apologize now that the truth has surfaced. Guan Eng and the Penang religious officials have been pushed to the brink by its lies and it is only fair that an apology is extended,” Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tsin told Malaysia Chronicle.

From replacing King's name to praying for non-Muslims

Zakaria Ahmad
Investigations by both the Penang state administration and the police have so far confirmed that Zahid’s original accusation that the King’s name had been replaced by Guan Eng’s was untrue. But even so, Umno has tried to deflect attention with fresh accusations that it was wrong for Muslim prayers to include the names of non-Muslims.

However, that move fizzled out when Penang officials pointed out that Umno itself had conducted special prayers for their candidate P Kamalanathan to win during the Hulu Selangor by-election. Presented with photos of the large banner inviting Muslims to perform the hajat prayer and to recite the Yassin for Kamalanathan, Umno had no reply.

However, Umno has now begun needling at Zakaria Ahmad, the khatib or prayer leader who had on his own volition mentioned Guan Eng’s name during a Friday prayer.

“He should publicly ask for forgiveness from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for intentionally not mentioning his name as head of state and head of the Islamic religion,” said Zahid was reported as saying on Thursday.

Now, Zahid is picking on the khatib

Abdul Malik Abul Kassim
The latest Zahid move on Zakaria has been slammed by Pakatan leaders, who accused the party of trying to deflect blame onto thekhatib by insisting that he apologized to the King.

Zakatia has refused, reiterating that he had not committed any offense and that the whole issue had been blown up by politicians.

Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, the state Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs committee chairman, told Malaysia Chronicle it was not an offense for a khatib to give a Friday sermon without referring to the prepared text by the State Religious Affairs Department.

Malik reiterated that the department had never altered or dropped the King’s name from the script as Zahid had claimed.

"Why make Zakaria apologize? There is no law that requires them to follow the prepared text although we will advise them to do so from now onwards. The whole matter is being played up by Umno politicians. It is a shame and they themselves should apologize and stop picking on the prayer leaders,” said Abdul Malik.

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