Like father, like son: Prince also calls for religious tolerance

by Mohd Fajar Nor

QUICK TAKE: The idiom “Like father, like son” perhaps best describes the Johor royal household, particularly the actions and thoughts of Sultan Ibrahim Ismail and his eldest son, Tunku Ismail, at this point in time.

Sultan Ibrahim has won accolades near and far for his recent statement telling his Muslim subjects that it was okay for them to join in the festivities of their friends of other faiths.

On Dec 25, the Crown Prince of Johor shared his father’s views, saying that “offering festive wishes to non-Muslims does not make one less of a Muslim”.

Tunku Ismail said Islam teaches its followers to respect people of different races and beliefs and to stay away from any form of extremism, The Star reported.

“Islam is a religion of peace and love. Islam teaches us to respect people of different races and beliefs.

“I live in a state with various races and religions, and I was taught by my forefathers to respect all of them,” he said in a Facebook posting on Johor Southern Tigers football page on Christmas Day.

He said it was the unity of ‘Bangsa Johor’ – the term the royal family used to refer to its people regardless of their racial background – that what made Johor is today.

“I have Malay, Chinese and Indian friends. During Chinese New Year, I wish them Happy Chinese New year.

“To the Hindus, I wish them Happy Deepavali and for the Christians, I wish them Merry Christmas. That doesn’t make me less of a Muslim, that makes us human.

“During Hari Raya Aildilfitri, people of other races wish us Selamat Hari Raya. If others can respect my beliefs, why can’t I respect them?” he asked.

Tunku Ismail then told his fellow Johoreans to “be different from certain parts of this country”.

“Being a Muslim is about your faith and the purity of the heart. Al-Qur’an is our guide. Don’t try to be smarter than the Al-Qur’an.

“Malays should remember our roots and education since childhood, and not be influenced by foreign elements. Let us refrain from extremism,” he said.

He said it puzzled him as to why people have to be afraid of respecting one another.

“Hate doesn’t make you a Muslim; it is common sense, love, and respecting one another that makes you a Muslim and human being.

“The quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts, so choose wisely,” Tunku Ismail added.

What wise words indeed from the Crown Prince! His call for love, not hate; respect, not extremism; should resonate with all Malaysians, not only Johoreans. What a timely royal advice indeed!

Confucius said: “The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them”.

On that, we shouldn’t worry too much about that “father and son” in the Johor royal household.

The father has taught his son well and the son is unlikely to neglect his duties. – The Ant Daily

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