While agreeing that apostasy exists in the country, the Muslim cleric said the issue should not be overly publicised as it was a sensitive matter and would destroy the image of the country’s religious school as institutions incapable of protecting its own devotees.
“It is illogical what has been written on the Internet that more than 250,000 Muslims in this country have abandoned their faiths.
“If it is true, prove it and do not be emotional. Every state has enactments governing religious propaganda from being spread to Muslims, so why are they not being charged?” he was quoted as saying in Utusan Malaysia today.
The Malaysian Insider reported yesterday a planned gathering of a million Muslims this Saturday to rally against Christians “challenging the sovereignty of Islam”, a momentous event that could raise religious tension that has intensified in recent months after alleged proselytising by Christians.
The Himpunan Sejuta Umat (Himpun), or Gathering of a Million Faithful, is being organised by various right-wing groups such as Perkasa with the backing of both Umno and PAS Youth in what appears to be a coming together of conservative Muslims.
About 1,000 Facebook users have confirmed their attendance so far but should Himpun draw much more to the Shah Alam Stadium this weekend, it could push Umno and PAS to seek relevance among more religious Malays.
With ethnic tension already rising in the years following the 2008 general election, it could raise already simmering fears of Islamisation among non-Muslims and more liberal Malays.
The gathering will later produce a declaration calling for the enactment of a law to punish individuals guilty of proselytisation, Himpun secretariat secretary Aminuddin Yahaya told The Malaysian Insider.
The contents of the declaration are similar to the views expressed recently by Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria when the latter suggested a similar law, saying the act of proselytisation violates the Federal Constitution.
The outspoken religious leader, who is scheduled to address this Saturday’s gathering, had said attempts to convert Muslims had gone on unchecked for a long time, likening it to a virus attacking the Malays.
Although no formal figures have been released by the government on proselytisation, Harussani had reportedly said in 2008 that over 260,000 Muslims had left their faith to embrace Christianity.