Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Controversial Kota Tinggi surau faces demolition - The Star Online

JOHOR BARU: The surau at a resort which was used by non-Muslims in a religious ceremony is expected to be demolished after investigations  are completed.

Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAINJ) advisor Datuk Nooh Gadut said a decision on the surau would be made by Johor's Fatwa Committee in a month's time.

 "The surau cannot be demolished immediately as it is evidence in the case and is now being guarded by police and Rela," he told reporters at his office on Tuesday.

Nooh said that his team would take over the investigations in accordance with Section 7A of Johor's Syariah Criminal Enactment 1997, after the police have completed their investigations.

He added that the state Fatwa Committee will meet  next week to discuss the case.

 He said the findings of the meeting will be conveyed to MAINJ before being submitted to Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar as the head of religion.

 "The most sacred places on Earth are mosques and surau. Accordingly, they are not allowed to be used to carry out religious activities other than for Islam and if a surau is found to have hosted other religious activities, it can be demolished based on surah At-Taubah verse 107 (in the Quran)," he said.

Nooh said Sultan Ibrahim had ordered the Johor Islamic Religious Department to issue a circular for the determining of the Qiblat (the direction of Mecca for Muslims' obligatory prayers) in every resort and hotel in the state.

"The purpose of the circular is for operators and resort owners in the state to comply with all procedures for the construction of mosques and surau and the direction of the Qiblat so that problems associated with misleading qiblat and other matters will not arise again," he said. 

 According to Nooh, Sultan Ibrahim also urged that the investigations be conducted immediately in according to existing laws. 

 "In this case, the Sultan is very concerned and has ordered the authorities involved to conduct a through investigation based on facts," he said.

The owner of the resort, a Singaporean with permanent resident (PR) status in Malaysia, has been remanded for four days since Monday to facilitate investigations.

The case received wide coverage after an 85-second video clip of Buddhists engaged in a religious ceremony at the surau went viral on Youtube. 

In GEORGE TOWN, Penang state executive councillor in charge of Islamic religious affairs, Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, said the state government had issued a warning to owners of buildings, hotels and resorts in the state that have surau facilities not to allow them to be used for worshipping purposes by non-Muslims. 

He said so far that had been no reports of a similar incident as what happened at the Sedili Besar resort and that anyone found not heeding the directive would have to face the law for insulting Islam. 

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