KUALA LUMPUR – There must be reasons that led to the decision of Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar to bar Zimbabwean Mufti Ismail Menk from giving religious talks in the state, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said.
The Defence Minister said he was still in the dark over the decision taken by Johor to ban one of the most influential muslim preachers.
Hishammuddin, who is also the Sembrong MP, said he was unsure whether the decision taken by the Johor religious authority was linked with the position taken by Singapore to impose a similar ban on Monday.
“I do not know the basis on why the decision was taken as the mufti has not actually called me about it,” he said.
“I leave it to the authorities of Johor to take their next action,” he told a press conference at Parliament when asked to comment on his friendly relations with the mufti and the ban from Johor.
When asked whether the preacher could pose a threat to religious harmony in Malaysia, Hishammuddin said it would depend on why the ban was made in the first place.
“There must be some rationale behind it, maybe things which I might not know,” he added.
Johor on Wednesday said that Ismail, along with another local preacher Haslin Baharim, would not be allowed to preach in the state.
Singapore had earlier barred the two preachers from entering the island state. Its Home Affairs Ministry announced this week that Menk, known as Mufti Menk, and Haslin, nicknamed Ustaz Bollywood, had expressed views that promote disharmony between Muslims and non-Muslims.
The preachers were listed as speakers for an “Islamic Cruise” offered by a Selangor-based travel agency for a “spiritual voyage” from Singapore to Aceh in Indonesia on Nov 25.