Sarawak will continue holding ‘doa’ recital at official government functions even with non-Muslim attendees

Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi

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KUCHING, Sept 5: Sarawak will not issue directives to bar the Muslim ‘doa’ recital from being held at official functions with non-Muslim attendees.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi said this has been a common practice at state government functions and ‘doa’ recitals would be carried out regardless if there are non-Muslims among the attendees as they would be asked to pray according to their respective faiths.

“So far there is no such issue in Sarawak. We (state government and state agencies) have not issued any such directives,” he said when contacted.

Dr Abdul Rahman was responding to a news article from an online news portal today, highlighting that an agency under the Prime Minister’s Department had issued a directive on September 3 upon advice from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) barring joint prayer between Muslims and non-Muslims.

“ ‘Doa’ recitals are generally to ask for wellbeing and goodness. We in Sarawak always give top priority to ensuring harmony and unity among the various races and religions in our multifaceted community,” he said.

The letter containing the directive, which the online news portal had sighted, touched on two types of prayer sessions: where Muslims recite their ‘doa’ (prayer of supplication) simultaneously with members of other faiths who recite their own prayers before a function begins; and when Muslim and non-Muslim groups each pray before the start of a function.

The letter also stated that on the advice of Jakim, both types of prayers should not be held in the same programme.

Such prayers should instead be “replaced with an activity where a message of unity is shared”, it stated. — DayakDaily