KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 ― A National University of Singapore (NUS) professor questioned today if the actions of the Malaysian authorities towards Shiites contributed partly to Malaysians joining the Islamic State to kill Shiites in Iraq and Syria.
Dr Syed Farid Alatas, a Malaysian who is an associate professor of sociology at NUS, noted that Shiites, which is considered a deviant sect in Malaysia as it only recognises the Sunni school of Islam, have been arrested in Perak for possessing Shiite materials and have had their homes raided in Temerloh.
“Authorities have to do soul-searching to check whether they’re partly responsible for the murder of Shiites in Iraq and Syria by fomenting hatred in the minds of some Malaysians toward Shiites,” Syed Farid told a forum on Islam and democracy organised by G25, a lobby group of Malay retired senior civil servants.
Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) chief Nasharudin Mat Isa told local daily The Star in an interview published today that non-mainstream Islamic teachings, such as Shiah and Sufism, need to be “controlled” to help Malaysia develop Islam to its current dominant position.
Islamic authorities in Malaysia have repeatedly demonised the Shiites, with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) claiming in a Friday sermon in 2013 that the school of thought permitted sodomy.
After Sunni, Shiah has around 10-20 per cent of Muslims worldwide identifying themselves as adherents, mostly in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bahrain.