Sunday, 1 March 2015

OK for non-Muslims to return free Quran copies, says Jakim

The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) is telling non-Muslims that they can return the free copies of the Quran after accepting them.

Non-Muslims can return copies of the Quran after accepting them and it is also untrue that their religion will be converted to Islam just by filling up a form, says the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim).

This is the first time the department has spoken on the outcry by some that a project to distribute translated copies of the Quran would result in conversion or entrapment if the holy books were to be disposed of.

Jakim director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha told Chinese daily Sin Chew Jit Poh this in response to a message being circulated on social media warning non-Muslims not to accept the free copies.

Othman told the Chinese newspaper that for a non-Muslim to officially convert to Islam, he or she needed to take an oath before being able to go through ceremonies to complete the conversion.

“A person who decides to uphold Islamic beliefs must do so voluntarily, not under forced circumstances,” he said.

He was also reported as saying that if a non-Muslim felt they could not keep the Quran in good condition, they could always opt to return it to the distributor, to a mosque or even another Muslim person.

“In Islamic teachings, it is imperative that the followers of the religion regard the Quran with high levels of respect. Anyone who accepts the Quran is obligated to keep it properly.

The message that had been circulated through social media and on WhatsApp said non-Muslims should not accept a copy of the Quran because "the minute you do you will have to fill in a form claiming it just for record purposes, but actually they will track you down and convert you or change your records stating that you are a Muslim.

“Be reminded that the Quran is their holy book and it’s not to be touched by others and once it’s in our possession we can't dispose (of) it or put it anywhere because it’s considered as a holy book. Please be safe and exercise your rights and politely reject it," the message read.

The message also said the project to distribute 1 million free copies of the translated Quran had already started in Klang.

But two groups, the Malaysia Reverted Muslims (MRM) and the Islamic Information and Services Foundation which produced translation of the Quran, have both denied handing out the texts to non-Muslims in Klang.

On February 9, interfaith council the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) urged non-Muslims not to accept the free copies.

The council said it rejected the project aimed at reducing misconceptions and Islamophobia.

It added that the actual intention appeared to be propagation of Islam and while Malaysia's laws did not allow non-Muslims to proselytise to Muslims, there were no laws banning Muslims from doing so.

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