PETALING JAYA: Islam supports freedom of speech and a nation which permits this basic principle of human rights will also help the growth of Islam, said independent Islamic teacher Ustaz Wan Ji Wan Hussein.
Citing examples from western countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, Wan Ji said countries that practiced healthy forms of democracy will have a more open minded society who can accept debates and various religious ideas.
“Look at the progress made in the western countries. Islam is accepted and people are starting to learn about Islam,” he told FMT in an interview.
“They have no problem with debating or holding discussions to talk about ideas of each religion. But here in Malaysia, you can’t even have a Christian preacher on national television programme.
“Why can’t we have that? There is nothing wrong with it. We can always call another Muslim scholar to talk about Islam later on, on the TV station,” he said.
According to Wan Ji, Prophet Muhammad himself acknowledged the importance of freedom of speech as stated in many of his sayings recorded by his acquaintances.
“If a Muslim is denying this basic fundamental right, he is having a problem not understanding Islam the way it should be,” he said.
When questioned about the demands from right wing Muslim groups asking for such freedom to be ignored, Wan Ji lambasted the groups, branding them as ignorant and not being able to grasp the true idea of being a Muslim.
“Isma for example, they are having a mental block. They can’t understand Islam,” he said.
“Jalur Tiga Malaysia or Jati is ignorant. I used to work with Dr Hassan Ali when he was in PAS, I can say that he is an ignorant Muslim,” he added.
On the other hand, Ustaz Wan Ji urged the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) to handle the issue pertaining the teaching of Syiah into a dialogue.
He then disagreed in the manner the matter was being handled as according to him the force used to crush the teaching would only deepen the sectarian problem within the two school of thoughts.
“It can only be resolved with a discussion, a sincere discussion.
“For an example, just imagine if you are a Sunni living in a Syiah country. The government said you can’t practice your religion because it is wrong. How would you feel?” he asked.
“Thus the Sunnis can’t treat the Syiah in this manner. A discussion from all stakeholders in this country should be conducted.
“Sunni or Syiah is all about belief. There is no compulsion in Islam,” he added.