Sunday, March 07, 2010

Utusan spikes ex-mufti article on 'ulama'

Malay newspaper Mingguan Malaysia came under criticism today after the publication spiked an article written by former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin on the position of the 'ulama' in the country. The article, entitled `Ulama dimuliakan atau disucikan?' ('The ulama: revered or sanctified?') was said to have discussed how to address the views of religious scholars. The issue arose after former Perlis Menteri Besar Shahidan Kassim posted on his Facebook today criticisms of Mingguan Malaysia - the Sunday edition of Utusan Malaysia - for rejecting Asri's article. Shahidan, known to be an avid follower of Asri, claimed Mingguan Malaysia had acted out of fear of the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim). "There was no article by Dr Asri today in Mingguan Malaysia. I believe brother Zin (believed to be an editor in the publication) spiked (Asri) because he is scared of Jakim. “I've been informed that the article touched on the role of the ulama in Malaysia,” said Shahidan in his Facebook posting.

'What press freedom do you practice?'

"I would like Utusan (Malaysia) to know: if Jakim wrote (articles) in Utusan, I would not buy your paper. I have bought many editions of Mingguan (Malaysia) because of the writings of Dr Asri and (university lecturer and preacher) Ridzuan Tee (Abdullah) and others. "What kind of press freedom does your paper practice?” asked Shahidan. When contacted, Asri confirmed that his article had been spiked. He declined to speculate, however, as to the reasons. “To me, this is a normal thing. I'm wondering what is going to happen after this,” he told Malaysiakini today. When questioned, Asri said he was of the view that the opinions of the ulama are not sacred, but can be assessed as to their validity. However, stressed the religious scholar, even though the ulama's opinions are not sacred, their views should be respected.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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