PAS president Hadi Awang said his party will not take in the Himpun rally planned for October 22.
The Gathering of One Million Muslims is widely believed to be a political event brought about by Selangor Umno in a bid to galvanize Malay support against the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government.
“Any efforts to raise a religious and racial polemic will not create an environment which is beneficial to anyone. PAS views with gravity all attempts by anyone to take advantage of the situation for political or purposes,” Hadi said in a statement on Tuesday.
PKR and DAP, the other two partners in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, will follow the line adopted by PAS. Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said Pakatan would let the Islamist PAS make the decision on behalf of the coalition.
Peaceful and not angry ways
Indeed, while Himpun, a coalition of Muslim NGOs, has denied poltiical links, that has not stopped Umno leaders and their allies including Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali, Umno Senator Ezam Mohd Noor and PKR turncoat Zulkifli Noordin from using the rally as a platform to defend the Selangor Sultan’s controversial ruling on the Jais-DUMC incident.
In doing so, many Christians have felt angered and see the event as a means for ‘extremist groups’ to rub salt into their wound over the incident, where they believed they had been unfairly accused of trying to proselytize Muslims.
Many Islamic practitioners have advised against the event as it might create unnecessary division amongst the races, prompted by those with political rather than religious interests.
“PAS is of the position that to strengthen the faith of Muslims, it must be done through peaceful and not angry dakwah (preaching) which is how Islam has been accepted by society in this region,” said Hadi.
The Bersih contrast
The Himpun event was announced shortly after the Sultan’s decision and its goal is to condemn apostasy and warn other faith against proselytizing Muslims.
That Prime Minister Najib Razak is encouraging the event is clear, given the speed with which the police approved the permit for the rally.
That has also riled up many supporters of the July 9 Bersih rally for free and fair elections, when police not only refused to give a permit but outlawed the coalition of NGOs that organised the peaceful assembly.
Many Pakatan Rakyat, including PAS, members had taken part in Bersih and were injured by the brutal police crackdown ordered by the Najib administration.
“PAS has been informed that the event does not wish to involve political parties, thus PAS’ position is to not participate in the rally to respect the wishes of the organizers,” said Hadi.