Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin today said he disagreed with plans by Bebas, a movement that advocates for religious freedom, to hold a counter-rally against the PAS-led Act 355 rally on Feb 18.
Speaking at a forum on hudud organised by NGO Angkatan Amanah Merdeka, Asri said such gatherings were counter-productive and do not help to educate the public.
"I don't agree with holding a counter-rally. I feel that if others were to hold a rally and we hold a counter-rally, this thing will never end.
"This is not about rallying (in protest or support) but it is about education and how do we inform people (about Act 355)," he said.
He was responding to Bebas representative Azrul Mohd Khalib, who had earlier distributed fliers and invited all the guests to participate in their rally.
Commenting further, Asri said a smaller counter-rally will also create a perception that majority support is with the larger group.
"And also, when we hold a (counter) rally, it will also trigger (public) sentiments of being anti-hudud," he said.
Throughout the forum which also featured UiTM legal adviser Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi and USM's political scientist Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, Asri repeatedly stressed that he was not anti-hudud, but merely raising questions over conditions to impose the law.
He also advised all parties to learn about Islam through credible sources in order to avoid misconceptions about the religion.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall had last Wednesday granted PAS permission to hold its rally at Padang Merbok.
Bebas had initially announced its plans to gather at Padang Merbok but Azrul later said they would shift its 'Malaysians Reject Hadi's Bill Rally' to Taman Jaya in Petaling Jaya.
Hadi's bill seeks to raise the sentencing limit of the syariah court from a maximum RM3,000 fine, six strokes of the rotan and five-year jail limit to maximum 30 years' jail, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes of the rotan.- Mkini