The “incident”: 22 Aug 2010
“Orang bukan Islam adalah dilarang memasuki ruang solat kerana mereka ini dalam berkeadaan hadas besar apatah lagi berada di bahagian imam dan menyampaikan ucapan kepada umat Islam di dalamnya.
“Oleh itu, kita akan mendapatkan laporan dan penjelasan daripada nazir serta jawatankuasa surau berkenaan mengenai perkara ini. Jika dakwaan ini benar, kita akan memaklumkan kepada pihak Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS) dan tindakan tegas akan diambil.”
Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS) director Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi. He said JAIS would take stern action against the Surau Al-Huda committee in Kajang Sentral for inviting Serdang member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching to speak in the prayer area of the surau.
Teo, a DAP politician, said she had gone to the surau to hand over a Selangor government donation for repairs to the surau’s fence and to join the breaking of fast. She said she had been invited by the surau committee to say a few words to the congregation, which she did. The committee has reportedly since been suspended by the Selangor Islamic Council (MAIS) over the incident. (Source: Tindakan tegas jemput bukan Islam — JAIS, Utusan Malaysia, 26 Aug 2010)
“As I was invited to give a brief speech, I made a sincere effort to explain the state’s education programme for the benefit of the people.
“I regret that the matter has caused restlessness among Muslims nationwide and this issue has been further heated up by certain quarters due to political reasons.”
Teo, explaining her reasons for entering the surau. She said she would clarify the matter and apologise to the Sultan of Selangor over the incident. (Source: Serdang MP to apologise over surau gaffe, The Star, 29 Aug 2010)
“Tok Guru (Nik Aziz) clarified to me that from the viewpoint of Islam, it is not an issue for a non-Muslim to enter a surau or mosque.
“He said that in fact, during the time of Muhammad, non-Muslims entered the mosque (of Medina) to meet with the Prophet.”
Teo, after she met with Nik Aziz. She said he encouraged her to visit Muslim houses of worship, saying there was nothing wrong with non-Muslims visiting and entering suraus and mosques. Teo visited a Bukit Mahkota surau on 29 Aug 2010 and said she would continue to visit mosques and suraus when invited. (Source: Teo: Nik Aziz encourages me to visit more suraus, Malaysiakini, 30 Aug 2010)
Umno’s & Perkasa’s response:
“Teo had no business to be inside Surau Al-Huda as she was deemed dirty but Nik Aziz said its alright, we are modern now. What disaster can we expect next?”
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein saying he was shocked Teo had the support of PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat. He said it was clear DAP was adopting an extreme approach by questioning the rights and privileges defended by Malay leaders and rulers. (Source: Mosque visit: Teo was “deemed dirty”, says Hisham, Malaysiakini, 30 Aug 2010)
“We don’t want excuses or justification. The issue is about the sensitivity of other religions.”
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin saying DAP was “insensitive” for attempting to justify Teo’s visit to the surau. He also called Teo “naïve” and said her explanation on her visit was an afterthought after coming under fire. He said the DAP must understand that the majority of Muslims were upset by Teo’s conduct. (Source: Khairy calls DAP insensitive, Teo naïve over surau visit, The Malaysian Insider, 28 Aug 2010)
”Nie Ching sepatutnya tahu bahawa menjadi ahli politik bukanlah lesen untuk memecah-belahkan perpaduan rakyat berbilang bangsa dan keharmonian negara.”
Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, condemning Teo’s visit. Shahrizat said Teo was disrespectful to Islam and the sanctity of mosques and suraus. She said Teo should not have entered the surau without covering her “aurat”. Teo had entered the surau without covering her hair. (Source: Tindakan biadab DAP terhadap umat Islam, Utusan Malaysia, 27 Aug 2010)
“The Selangor Islamic Religious Council must charge the Serdang MP for desecrating the Al-Huda Surau.”
“In America, Islamic preacher Malcom X, who preached to Christians and entered their churches was shot dead but in Selangor an ‘unclean DAP politician’ was dragged into the surau’s prayer room.”
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali, calling for strong action to be taken against Teo for desecrating the surau with her visit. (Source: Ibrahim Ali demands action against Teo over surau visit, The Malaysian Insider, 29 Aug 2010)
“Orang bukan Islam hanya boleh melawat kawasan masjid atau surau tetapi tidak boleh memasuki ruang solat rumah ibadat berkenaan apatah lagi memberi ceramah kepada jemaah surau berkenaan.
“Perkara ini disifatkan serius dan ia perlu disiasat secara menyeluruh dan jika benar ia berlaku ia seakan-akan satu bentuk penghinaan terhadap orang Islam.”
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim saying Teo should not have been allowed into the surau’s prayer area. (Source: Tindakan YB Serdang cemar imej Islam, Berita Harian, 28 Aug 2010)
“We cannot accept Malaysians who are unfamiliar with Islamic traditions, especially those who are leaders. If they are still ignorant after 53 years of independence, we urge them to leave the country.”
“I would like to remind DAP not to use Islam to gain political support. Don’t use Islam as a tool to fish for votes from Muslims.”
“An apology would not suffice because we Muslims […] feel that we are gravely insulted.”
Seputeh Umno Youth chief Mohd Razlan Muhammad Rafii saying that Teo’s act was seditious and could cause religious conflict. He urged the Home Ministry to take action against Teo as an apology did not suffice. (Source: Umno, PAS Youth wings clash over Teo, Malaysiakini, 30 Aug 2010)
PAS and PKR’s response:
“Tidak salah orang bukan Islam termasuk wanita masuk dalam masjid sama ada untuk berucap atau apa sahaja asalkan berpakaian sopan bagi bukan Islam dan menutup aurat bagi orang Islam.”
Nik Aziz, defending Teo’s surau visit. He said her visit did not go against Islamic laws and was a way of bringing Muslim and non-Muslim communities closer together. (Source: Isu takzirah dalam surau: Nik Aziz pertahan Teo, Utusan Malaysia, 28 Aug 2010)
“The attacks on YB Teo for giving aid to the surau’s fence deviates very much from the teachings of Islam and is an embarrassment to Muslims.”
Press statement from Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim‘s office. (Source: Selangor MB says attack on Teo shames Islam and Muslims, The Malaysian Insider, 30 Aug 2010)
“Does Umno Youth know that the prophet had often received non-Muslim guests at the Nabawi Mosque? [Are] the mosques and surau in Malaysia holier than the Nabawi Mosque to the point where non-Muslims cannot enter?”
Selangor PAS Youth chief Hasbullah Ridzwan, challenging Umno Youth to a debate on whether it was acceptable for non-Muslims to enter mosques and suraus. He advised Umno to consult experts on religion first before issuing statements. (Source: Umno, PAS Youth wings clash over Teo, Malaysiakini, 30 Aug 2010)
“It is usual for BN parties like MCA, MIC, Gerakan, Sabah and Sarawak (sic) to come to mosques and give speeches.”
“When BN does it, there is no issue. But when Pakatan Rakyat does it, there is an issue. This is a cheap issue.”
PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub accusing BN of double standards for criticising Teo’s visit, saying members of BN component parties also do the same. (Source: PAS veep says BN attack on Teo “a cheap issue”, The Malaysian Insider, 28 Aug 2010)
What does Islam say?
“Non-Muslims can enter into a mosque or surau with the right intent, like to get to know Islam, understand and study it. They are also allowed to enter the houses of worships to conduct dealings with Muslims.”
Former Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin. He said to his knowledge, nothing bars a non-Muslim from entering a Muslim house of worship. He said non-Muslims were allowed to enter the mosque during the time of the prophet Muhammad. (Source: Scholars: Islam doesn’t bar non-Muslims from mosques, Malaysiakini, 29 Aug 2010)
“According to history, the Prophet (while he lived) in Medina did not repulse any visits by Jews or Christians who wanted to meet him even when he was in the mosque of Medina.”
“They would come with a request, seeking justice (in a dispute) or for an administrative or other matter.
“It is understood from such incidents that there is no prohibition in Islam for meetings to be held within mosques other than the Masjid Al-Haram in blessed Makkah so long as they are held with good intentions.”
Selangor mufti Mohd Tamyes Abdul Wahid in a 9 Nov 2009 letter to the Jais’s chief assistant director in charge of mosques. (Source: Islam doesn’t bar non-Muslims from mosques, Malaysiakini, 29 Aug 2010)
“We strongly feel that disallowing non-Muslims from entering mosques only portrays a negative image of Islam and is not in line with the examples set by the Prophet. It is well known from the tradition that the Prophet allowed Christians from Najran to pray in his mosque in Madinah.
“It is in the interest of maslahah or common good of Islam that non-Muslims should feel welcomed and not intimidated from visiting mosques. Calls to ban non-Muslims from entering mosques or any knee-jerk reaction by the Islamic authorities to bow to certain political pressure in preventing the commendable attitude of cooperation and mutual respect is regrettable and uncalled for.”
Muhammad Adli Musa and Wan Norhaziki Wan Abd Halim, analysts with the think-tank Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) on the controversy over Teo’s surau visit. IRF holds that banning non-Muslims from entering Muslim places of worship goes against the universalism of Islam. (Source: IRF stand on the Issue of Non-Muslims Entering Mosques, press statement, Islamic Renaissance Front, 2 Sept 2010)
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Hang Jebat says
Regardless of what the pro-visit and anti-visit sides of the debate say, a previously unknown MP has been given national prominence. Nobody heard of Teo Nie Ching before and she was not destined to be known outside of her constituency until the politikus and their appointed “religious authorities” started screaming “Unclean, unclean…” Talk about creating political martyrs…
What this lesson is all about is that how Umno, if its desperate enough, can turn on the hate-machine anyway they like and the machinery will go to work overtime. In other words, if desperate enough, there is no conscience strong enough to stop a frenzy. All of them are guilty of IRRESPONSIBILITY – capable of treason to national interest, peace and security.
The debate on Teo is irrelevant. The debate should be about the beast within Umno capable of treason and when they will let go the beast.
This is yet another prime example of why we need to get rid of the scourge that is Barisan Nasional for the good of our nation. As always, BN is trying to gain political mileage by blowing a small issue out of proportion.
All of Teo’s critics (mostly from BN and its allies) have accused her of being insensitive to Islam for entering the surau. Ibrahim Ali has even called for stern action to be taken against her for the supposed insult. Yet, even if what happened was wrong in Islam, which I doubt, how can it be Teo’s fault when she was invited into the surau by the surau committee? It’s not like she entered the surau without permission.
And then you also have the Seputeh Umno Youth Chief saying that Teo should have been aware of Islamic traditions and customs in the first place. First of all, it is apparent from the above article that there is no general consensus among Malaysian Muslims on whether a non-Muslim can enter a surau or mosque. Secondly, how can this youth chief reasonably expect non-Muslims to know Islamic traditions? Does he himself know the traditions of the other religions in Malaysia? Doubtful.
It’s incidents like this that reinforce my decision NOT to vote for BN in the next general elections. Congratulations BN on making fools of yourselves yet again.
For goodness sake!! Teo visited the Surau to donate funds to repair the surau’s fence. She then spoke to the surau’s committee members and had buka puasa with them. If this was not a fine example of ‘1Malaysia’, I don’t know what would be.
What was merely a simple gesture by a group extending help to another has been hijacked, politicized and blown up out of reasonable proportions yet again.
I feel tired and frustrated to read of such news again and again. Oh how crucial it is for the public to have a critical understanding of such issues. We MUST go beyond sensational headlines of our [traditional media] and knee-jerk reactions of different groups / leaders supposedly speaking out in interest of the rakyat.
Thanks TNG for helping us move one step further in the right direction.
Oh and Happy Malaysia Day 2010!
What about the hundreds of visitors visiting the Masjid Negara? Mat Salehs are allowed to enter mosque but not a local?
SYED ABDANSARY says
Please, Mat salleh not in Masjid Negara with political agenda
Let’s not get started on how Umno uses the mosques to their benefits.
Besides, Teo was invited, and she gave a donation. Its not like she barged in… she was invited…therefore the Muslims in that mosque wanted her there.
nik farida says
What is your definition of a ‘political agenda’?
It is clear to me that Teo was invited by the surau committee to give a speech.
As a Mat Salleh who lived in Malaysia for three years, I have never been allowed into a mosque in Malaysia. This bewilders Muslims that I speak to from other countries as most have no problems with non-Muslims entering a mosque or surau. Oddly enough, I’ve never tried to visit Masjid Negara. I have visited Masjid Putra several times along with several other mosques and I was never permitted past the courtyard.
The strange thing is, overseas, especially in non-Muslims countries (I am now studying in New Zealand), non-Muslims are always welcome to enter masjid/surau/Islamic centres as you can learn and know more about Islam. We are more than happy do have you as a visitor. In NZ, journalists even come here to show how harmonious the real practice of Islam is – unlike the Islam practised in Malaysia – to open the world’s eye that Islam is not about terror but is a peaceful religion.
I am sorry that Malaysia has regulations prohibiting non-Muslims from entering masjid. How, then, can other people can learn more about Islam? What a shame!
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said it was clear DAP was adopting an extreme approach by questioning the rights and privileges defended by Malay leaders and rulers.
Why was there no charge against the 2 reporters who entered the house of God (Catholic), received Holy Communion (sacred to Catholics) and spat it out. Why no action against them? Or is it because the “rights and privileges” belong only to one race/religion, whilst it is no offence when it concerns other religions. Or is this the talking of a “double tongued” Minister?
Spot on! Yes, what does Mr. 1Malaysia have to say to this?
dominik, they are the talks of power crazy people who are;
1.Not rational or reasonable.
2.Have very selfish and destructive ambitions.
3.Religious extremists and abusers.
5.Political and mental bankrupts.
Well done Malaysia . What stupid issue after this?
Interesting reactions………to watch. This tells us, Teo actually does not have an issue but the Muslims reacting to her visit do. Tells us a lot of how superficial and ignorant many of them are.
SYED ABDANSARY says
This is very insulting “tells us a lot of how superficial and ignorant many of them are”
I think you are the ignorant one…..lumping agenda-less Muslims who felt betrayed by the desecration with Muslims who really are politicians first, and Muslims later, selectively.
Why are you so insulted with Nurul’s statement? Is it because you feel you are superficial and ignorant? (which, IMHO, you are).
Siapa yang makan cili, dialah yang rasa pedas.
Syed, don’t be so sensitive. Nurul didn’t specifically say ALL Muslims were superficial and ignorant. If you are that concerned about Islam and its affairs, you should also start looking at things from a non-Muslim’s perspective. At least that will help you make a comment that sounds more educated 😉
dirty fly says
Solely focused on religious matters, it’s sad to see modern and open-minded Muslims are being oppressed to not be open-minded. A few wise people are being oppressed by many fools and sadly others think the majority is always right.
If going into a surau is an insult, is passing by a surau disrespectful?
These idiots said Teoh is dirty, called her ignorant and insulted Malaysian Muslims. I wonder if calling non-Muslim dirty is halal or religious? I wonder how many Muslim really think like them? Did they conduct a survey before coming out with the statement saying majority of Muslims are upset and greatly insulted? If no survey has been conducted, these politicians are not in the position to comment.
Yes, I agree non-Muslims are ignorant of Islam. It’s because non-Muslim are not given chances to acknowledge. Non-Muslim are confused, now we are even more confused: Whether it’s an insult for non-Muslim to go into a surau? Some Muslims say yes, some say no.
And the reputation of Islam takes another face full of dirt. This will be seen as more evidence that Islam is an intolerant and belligerent religion that is overly sensitive and full of hypocrisy.
Malaysia bills itself as a moderate Muslim nation. And whether our mufti or politicians know it or not, Malaysia is taken by western analysts as one of the examples of a moderate Muslim nation.
Muslims really are the worst enemies of Islam.
I would love to ask Allah : “Dear almighty, are you crying now? Are you crying for the state of this country? The fact that those leaders that claim ‘Malaysia Boleh!’ act like religious and devout Muslims and speak for you but in actual fact twist and contort the teachings of Islam to suit their little game of politics? ”
I’m truly sad. The good and harmless deed and intention of a noble person has been transcripted into a disrespectful and racist act by those of malicious and ungrateful nature.
This is crap..even for a Muslim like me. This is too trivial…. Muslims please show your compassion.
I trust a politician as far as I could throw him/her.
Funny, nobody seems to note that the issue is not one of a non-Muslim visiting a mosque, but one of a non-Muslim DAP politician visiting a mosque to deliver/participate in a tazkirah, while not wearing not quite the full robe… google “PAS surau DAP” and see how much support you have among netizens over this…
I’m so frustrated i cant even finish this article! if their place of worship can only be entered by “clean” Muslims, perhaps all mosques should erect a signboard to prohibit non-Muslims from entering mosques.
SYED ABDANSARY says
Nik Aziz and all those who cited correctly the position that non Muslims may enter suraus etc should remember that the DAP leader was there not to learn about Islam but to BERPOLITIK. Imagine if any Umno leader were to enter a PAS surau or mosque in Terengganu or Kelantan, there’ll be a bigger row.
So the non-Muslim politician has more access to suraus so long as they are from the DAP.
I think PAS is bending the rules backwards and practising double standards. There is a secret code amongst PAS members in Terengganu – never answer an Umno guy’s salaams. They don’t accept them as Muslims. No mention of Islamic law or sanctions – just pure stupido.
So please don’t ask Nik Aziz about religion. Just ask about ‘politik Islam’.
How do you know that Teoh was there to BERPOLITIK? From the news reports, she only went there to give donations and join the breaking of fast. She didn’t even plan to address the congregation but was ASKED to by the surau committee. And then all she talked about was study loans that was being given out by the state government. Where is the politicking? Get your facts straight before you make a fool of yourself with baseless accusations.
It is BN who is POLITICKING by making a big issue out of nothing.
So should we ask [Hishammuddin] on how to be a Muslim then?
I am Muslim also, but Umno seems more racist than others. I totally agreed with Nik Aziz. How about Puteri Umno or the wives of Umno reps, do they wear any tudung to enter the mosque. Not at all.
Thank you Umno for this opportunity to make a fool of you again!!
Agreed, saw Rais’s wife on RTM and she didn’t even wear her tudung properly!
Farouq Omaro says
With the heated political climate now and the extra-sensitivity of certain groups of people, it would be better for non-Muslims to stay away from Muslim places of worship. Other things not to do are:
1. Do not enter shops where Islamic books and items relating to Islam are sold. (you might never know what you do could go wrong)
2. Do not be in possession of the Quran, Hadith, any books or items which relate to Islam. (some people might suspect you just touched Haram food)
3. Do not wear Islamic clothing or clothing that are related to Islamic societies such as songkok, kopiah, baju Melayu, baju kurung, tudung, jubah etc (imagine being seen by Ibrahim Ali while eating pork and dressed in a baju kurung)
4. Whenever Islam is discussed in a conversation, never interrupt or join in the conversation, you are not qualified to talk about Islam. It would be best to excuse yourself politely.
5. Never quote from the Quran, Hadiths or Muslim scholars. (you might misinterpret the quotations).
6. Never be seen eating, drinking and smoking by Muslims during Ramadan, and maybe never hold plays, soccer matches etc. (very disrespectful, especially to Ibrahim Ali I think)
7. Never play Quranic recitals or Nasyid songs in your home or vehicle. (it might be misconstrued as mocking)
8. Never invite Muslim friends to your house for a meal unless you are catering from a well known Halal eatery such as KFC, McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts (their packaging is easily recognizable)
9. Never shake hands with a Muslim of the opposite sex.
10. NEVER EVER disagree with a Muslim when it comes to their religion or customs. (you are not going to gain anything)
I know many non-Muslims have broken the above rules, but it is important you follow these rules, especially if you are in the DAP! Anyway it is best to follow these rules to maintain inter-religious harmony especially in the current political climate. So stop giving our Prime Minister the headache, so that he can continue administering the country smoothly without these silly issues.
frank peter says
You are kidding right? Please tell me it’s just sarcasm.
Wearing tudung doesn’t make a person more holy if the heart is rotten.
If you are a politician, your job is to berpolitik.
This is a whole bunch of crap. ‘Desecration’ is not a simple word to be bandied about, yet here we are just throwing the word around. I don’t think the DAP woman had any desecration in mind. This is just how Malaysian politics is played out. And the biggest joker of this whole episode is none other than home minister Hishammuddin. How about when [the cow head] was paraded openly, then stepped on and spat on by Umno goons? We had this same guy supporting these hoodlums! Way to go man. Was that action not being insensitive to the Hindus? Seputeh Umno chief Mohd Razlan says, if you are insensitive to Islam and after 53 years living here and not understanding Islamic sensitivities, then leave this country. How about turning that statement around and try applying it on your own people, smarty pants??
Many so called Muslims are NOT following the TRUE teaching of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him). He [PBUH] met many non-Muslims in his masjid in Madinah – who are these politicians to change this ruling?? YB Teo, no need to apologise or give justification – you are in the right and are always welcome to visit any our our masjid! This is to all non-Muslims too – forget what the politicians have to say!
Oh man, what has happened to Malaysia? Oops, perhaps not Malaysia, but Umno? I am Malaysian and have been living abroad for several years. The masjid and Islamic centres over here always welcome non-Muslims and are open to whoever would like to know more about our religion, or who want to learn how Muslims pray. Some non-Muslims are interested to just hear us reciting the Quran. And YB Teo was invited into the mosque, so I don’t see what the problem is. Plus, who knows, she may have been interested to know more about Islam.
Come on Malaysia, open your minds! This is crap and shouldn’t be an issue at all!
frank peter says
[This is] what happen when you forget the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. I guess UMNO is holier than the Prophet P.B.U.H then for not allowing non-muslims to enter the mosque. If non-muslims can’t recite ayat from the Quran and are not allowed to enter the mosque, pray tell me how do you attract them to Islam? This is a screwed-up version of Islam. Malay-inised Islam. Far from the true Islam. Islam is all about peace and tolerance.