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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Okay to boycott but vandalism against Islam, says Perlis mufti


A McDonald’s billboard in Sungai Petani, Kedah, which was recently vandalised amid the ongoing boycott of companies in response to Washington’s support for Israel in Gaza. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has voiced support for calls to boycott certain brands amid the conflict in Gaza but cautions that property, whether public or private, must not be vandalised in the process.

Asri, popularly known as Dr Maza, said shariah law dictates that those who damage the property of others without justified reason must rectify the harm caused, following reports of vandalism at a number of companies purportedly linked to Israel.

Speaking to FMT, he cited a hadith – a saying or tradition of Prophet Muhammad – which states that those who wantonly vandalise or damage property without replacing it are considered to have sinned.

“The punishment to be meted out will be equal to the damage he caused,” he said.

Last week, it was reported that a McDonald’s billboard in Sungai Petani, Kedah, had been spray-painted with phrases such as “Boikot pembunuh (Boycott killers),” “Darah Palestin di tangan kamu (Palestine’s blood is on your hands),” and “Bebaskan anak Palestin (Free Palestinians).”

In Tawau, Sabah, meanwhile, a Starbucks outlet was spray-painted with “Boikot” (Boycott) and “Free Palestine”.

Penang mufti Wan Salim Nor said that while boycotting companies linked to the adversaries of Muslims is permissible, it must be done with moderation and within the confines of Islamic law.

“If one wishes to boycott any party believed to be aiding those who oppose Muslims, it should be done moderately, as extreme behavior (‘ghulu’) is contrary to the teachings of Islam,” he said.

“This includes the act of vandalism, which involves damaging public property. Such actions are strictly forbidden in Islam and are universally condemned by scholars as sinful acts, as mentioned in various Quranic verses.”

Nazari Ismail, chairman of BDS Malaysia which promotes boycotts against Israeli interests, said his organisation does not support vandalism.

Instead, it focuses on non-violent advocacy, he said.

“These actions give the boycott movement a bad name. Many people may think that we are responsible for the vandalism even though we have nothing to do with it.”

He also voiced hope that members and supporters would observe the law when participating in the boycott campaign. - FMT

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