MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek must apologise for his condescending remarks against Islam, said president of the Muslim lawyers association Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar.
“The MCA president has been trying to portray adherents to Islam as anti-social and unable to serve the community,” said Zainul Rijal in a statement today.
The syariah lawyer said this after Chua’s remarks against PAS’ candidate for the Tenang by-election Normala Sudirman were echoed by several fellow MCA leaders, who zeroed in on her disinclination against shaking the hands of men as she makes her campaign rounds.
Chua had on Thursday warned the Chinese community against “this kind of Islamic values”.
This was followed by Deputy Trade Cooperative and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Lian Hoe (below, shaking hands) who this morning condemned Normala over the same matter.
“This is the most basic thing… Not only men, but when she shakes hands with women, she also needs to wear glove. This is not friendly. It’s as if she thinks our hands are dirty,” said the Gerakan Wanita leader.
“I hope the Chinese voters are careful. We are very worried about the Islamic state. They want to implement an extremist Islamic state,” she added.
Zainul Rijal in his statement said he does not wish to side with any party in the Tenang by-election campaign but feels to compelled to make his stand no matter how it may be taken by certain quarters on the manipulation of religion for political purposes.
“The issue of shaking hands between non-mahram (family member) men and women should not be made a political issue by any quarters.
“It is a religious injunction that men and women who are non-mahram cannot touch each other, and this is not a new thing. I myself will not extend my hand out to a woman who is not mymahram,” said Zainul.
Zainul Rijal called for all parties to respect people’s religious values rather than treat them as an issue to be played around with.
“Not shaking hands with persons of the opposite gender is not a disability. On the contrary, it reflects the strength of principles held by that person,” he said.
“For Muslims, it is a matter of common knowledge that men and women who are not mahram should not touch each other. It is only those who pick and choose from Islam that do not put it into practice,” Zainul Rijal said further.
At a press conference earlier today, Normala (above) said the remarks of BN leaders about the issue reflect their failure to understand Muslim manners.