Sultan of Johor: A wise and tolerant Muslim leader

by Mohd Fajar Nor

LETTER: This “Letter to the Editor” section is aimed at providing an opportunity for readers to air their opinions on current issues and other subjects of interest. Send your letters to Letters may be edited for length and clarity. 

CELEBRATE IN PEACE AND HARMONY: Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar is a wise and tolerant Muslim leader. He is clearly a man of peace who only wants the best for his subjects and his home state.

The sultan has been in the news in recent months for saying all the right things.

A few days ago, he ordered all shops selling vaping products in Johor to close by Jan 1. Many can agree with his decision, except those involved in the vaping industry of course.

Yesterday (Nov 29) the sultan declared that there should be no issue if Muslims join their friends of other faiths in celebrating their festivals.

He said that celebrating other festivals was a sign of respect to their friends and neighbours.

According to The Star, Sultan Ibrahim explained that “this is what Bangsa Johor is about.

“It promotes closeness, tolerance and mutual respect for each other regardless of race and religion.

“We should celebrate this in peace and harmony,” he told a Deepavali gathering organised by the Johor Federation of Indian Organisations (Gappin) in Johor Baru that day.

He hoped that more of such gatherings could be organised for other events such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Christmas, among others.

“Such events are meaningful as it helps to improve relations between me and my people,” he added.

I believe everyone will have much respect for Sultan Ibrahim. He says things which he thinks need to be said. The sultan knows what has been going on in the country and he wants to correct current misgivings about race and religion caused by certain extremist groups.

As the sultan and head of Islam in Johor, the monarch’s statements carry a lot of weight. Political leaders should take note of his remarks and correct what had gone wrong in the country.

Indeed, Sultan Ibrahim must have good reasons to bring up the subject of Muslims joining their friends of other faiths in celebrating their festivals.

If this has not been an issue, why should the wise sultan talk about it at all? The few bigots who have been running down those of a different faith than theirs had better heed the sultan’s advice

At the same function, Sultan Ibrahim also reminded the Indian community not to be divided by differing political ideologies or allow any individual to do so.

“Stay away. This is my warning to those who intend to come to Johor to cause disunity or split up my people,” he said, adding that there was no place for such people in the state.

He stressed that no country would be able to develop if its people were not united.

Oh yes, the warning is yet another word of wisdom from the sultan. Yes, he has the absolute right to ban troublemakers from Johor.

How I wish rulers from other states are as dynamic and fearless as Sultan Ibrahim. Wayward groups may not pay much attention to political leaders but when a sultan speaks, they feel duty bound to listen.

Now, Sultan Ibrahim has spoken.

-The Ant Daily

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