Bad to ban me with radicalism brewing, says Muslim scholar

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KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesian Muslim scholar Dr Ulil Abshar Abdalla (pic) said the Malaysian government had banned him from entering the country at a time when the Muslim community needs more dialogue to stem radicalism.

He tweeted via his Twitter handle @ulil yesterday morning that the trend of Islamic conservatism appeared to be increasing in Malaysia, just like in his country.

Ulil is on the Malaysian immigration’s blacklist, which means he will not be on the panel at Saturday’s forum on “Religious Fundamentalism Threat in This Century” in Kuala Lumpur.

“The event is organised by the IRF (Islamic Renaissance). But unfortunately, my appearance is not gonna happen.

“Persatuan Ulama Malaysia filed a protest against my participation in the event. And I am now banned from entering Malaysia.

“I am sad that this ban happens at a time when Muslim society needs more dialogue to stem radicalism in their midst,” Ulil said

Ulil, who is affiliated with Jaringan Islam Liberal (Liberal Islam Network), said he had endured a few bans in his country, which prevented him from appearing at public discussions in Surabaya and Riau.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times that Ulil had been barred entry because “he would mislead the Muslims in the country if he is allowed to spread his brand of liberalism here”.

Zahid said Ulil was invited by local non-governmental organisations to speak about liberalism but, at the same time, the authorities received various reports of those who were against his idea of liberalism.

Last Thursday, Malaysian Islamic Development Department (or Jakim) director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha called for the entire roundtable discussion to be stopped as it involved Ulil from Indonesia.

“Any effort to bring in teachings which contravene the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah and can threaten the faith of Muslims in Malaysia must be stopped,” he said, according to Bernama. — by Looi Sue-Chern/The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 13, 2014.