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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