Where does it end, Perlis mufti asks in Muslim-only laundry row

Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin speaks up against a skewed understading of Islam resulting in the controversial policy of laundrette in Johor.

Mohd-Asri-Zainul-Abidin_dobi_600PETALING JAYA: The mufti of Perlis has criticised the controversial Muslims-only policy of a laundrette in Johor, saying there will be no end when Muslims become obsessed with a skewed understanding of the Islamic rule on hygiene.

Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said Islamic teachings were not meant to burden but to make things easier.

He painted a scenario of what will happen if such “narrow-mindedness” is allowed to spread among Muslims.

“I am worried that some might urge for Muslims not to use currency notes already used by non-Muslims, because they assume it is unclean after they exchange hands. And some may also say that the prayers of those who keep these notes in their pockets are not valid.

“After that, there is the separation of eating utensils of non-Muslims in restaurants.

“All these narrow-mindedness will take the country down the path to extremism, and we will then lose the balance to live in a multi-religious and multi-cultural society,” the vocal mufti told FMT today.

Social media has been abuzz with a photograph of a self-service laundrette in Muar, Johor, with a signboard informing that its service is only for Muslim customers due to hygiene reasons.

The shop owner has defended the controversial policy, saying he was “only carrying out my duty as a Muslim”, he told a Chinese daily on Saturday.

Asri said as a living religion, Islam must exist in harmony with its surroundings.

He said Muslims must not presuppose everything as unclean.

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“I wish to advise Muslims that if the origins of something is clean, and that there is nothing unclean in terms of colour, smell or taste, then it is clean.

“Any kind of over-assumptions burdening our lives are not teachings from Prophet Muhammad, whose intent is to make life easier,” he said.

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Bahagian pelancongan nusantara merupakan salah satu sektor yang penting dalam ekonomi Malaysia. Sehingga kini, sektor pelancongan merupakan sektor kelima terbesar negara selepas sektor perkhidmatan kewangan, kelapa sawit, borong dan runcit, gas dan tenaga, dan petroleum dengan memberikan sebanyak RM36.9 bilion kepada Keluaran Negara Kasar (KNK).

Pun begitu pada peringkat awal selepas pasca kemerdekaan negara, kerajaan tidak memberi penekanan terhadap sektor pelancongan. Kerajaan pada ketika itu lebih memberi tumpuan kepada pembangunan infrastruktur negara dan melawan ancaman communism. Selain itu, faktor ancaman dari luar seperti konfrantasi dengan Indonesia turut menjejaskan rencana kerajaan pada ketika itu. Ia serta merta melambatkan pekembangan sektor pelancongan di Malaysia.

Pada era tahun 60-an, sektor pelancongan masih belum mewujudkan peranan yang utama terhadap perkembangan ekonomi nusantara. Kerajaan pada ketika itu memberi tumpuan kepada sektor hasil bumi seperti bijih timah dan getah. Sektor hasil bumi tersebut telah menyumbang sebanyak 45% kepada keluaran Negara kasar (KNK) pada tahun 1970.