By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Aug 13: It is fundamentally wrong to compare religions, as it could create tension among the multi-ethnic, multi-religious society in Malaysia.
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Association Kuching president Shankar Ram Asnani has called on the authorities to use the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) against individuals who try to stir religious tension such as Indian fugitive preacher Dr Zakir Naik.
“In Sarawak, we have mixed marriages and people here have families who are Muslims, Christians, Buddhist and Hindus.
“The Government of the day should not allow anyone instigating racial or religious disharmony. Prior to the 14th general election, Pakatan Harapan promised to repeal various subversive laws but have not done so. I think it is ripe to use Sosma, unless repealed, against those who stirs public disorder,” he told DayakDaily today.
Shankar, who is also a prominent lawyer and one of the founders of The Art of Living Kuching Chapter, said it was also wrong for Zakir to compare India and Malaysia, least of all, questioning the loyalties of the Indians in the country.
“Zakir Naik should promote unity by drawing all the races and people with different faiths together. A true scholar will say with conviction that there are common aspects and/or similarities between the different faiths and a scholar should tap on these common similarities to bring people together, in peace and harmony and not draw them apart,” he said.
Quoting a great Indian Guru, GuruJi Sri Ravishankar, Shankar said there is good in every religion.
“We have no objection to taking food from every part of the world and listening to music from every part of the world.
“When it comes to going to a doctor, we want the best doctor regardless of race or nationality, we want the best teachers, drivers, cooks and so on. Why can’t we take the best from every religion and make it our own? We need to globalise wisdom too,” he said.
He added: “In fact, India is well known for religious tolerance. It has all the religions of the world there. India even gave refuge and a large area for the Dalai Lama.”
Shankar cited that his godfather is a Muslim and that his family members are largely Muslims and they have lived in harmony.
He was commenting on Zakir, who courted another controversy in Kelantan recently, by comparing the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India and said that the former enjoyed more than 100 per cent rights in Malaysia compared to Muslims in India.
Zakir further said it was unfortunate that the Hindus in Malaysia, despite the benefits, are more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The controversial Islamic preacher, wanted for money laundering and terrorism-related charges in India, has been allowed to stay in Malaysia as he is a permanent resident since 2015. — DayakDaily