Sunday, August 17, 2008

Un-Islamic to swear on Quran, says Gus Dur (Malaysiakini)

Former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, the titular leader of the Nadhlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim social organisation in the world, today described as "unislamic" the practice of swearing on the Quran.

"I challenge anybody to open the law books of Islam [to prove otherwise]," said the man who is popularly referred to as Gus Dur. He is a graduate in syariah, a qualification he obtained in 1970 from the University of Baghdad.

Gus Dur said there was no tradition in Islamic law of swearing on the Quran to authenticate the truth of one's claims.

He described as "unislamic" the action of Anwar Ibrahim's accuser, Mohd Saiful Azlan Bukhari, who last Friday swore on the Quran in a mosque and in the presence of an Islamic cleric to authenticate his claim that he had been sodomised by Anwar.

Gus Dur was responding to a question at a press conference he addressed at the PKR headquarters in Kelana Jaya soon after his arrival from Jakarta this morning.

Lend moral support

For the second time in just over a week, the Indonesian leader had flown into Kuala Lumpur to lend moral support to Anwar's campaign to clear himself of a charge of sodomy levelled at him by his former aide, Saiful.

On Aug 10, Gus Dur flew into Kuala Lumpur to be with Anwar on the occasion of the latter's 61st birthday.

In remarks made to Malaysiakini then, Gus Dur, who has known Anwar for 15 years, propounded the view that Islam and democracy are compatible.

Further, the former president said he saw the progression of Anwar to the premiership of Malaysia as necessary for the instantiation of the idea that Islam and democracy can co-exist.

Today, Gus Dur emphatically reiterated that view which Anwar has been espousing for several years, putting both leaders at odds with schools of thought among Islamic theologians who look askance at democracy as a western idea that would undermine the religion.

entire news n photo courtesy of Malaysiakini (Terence Netto)