KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan of Johor has warned the Muslim-only launderette in Muar to immediately stop its discriminatory practice or risk being shut down.
“I want to put a stop to such extremism. Extremism has no place in my state. We take pride in being Bangsa Johor and I want to know where the owner of this launderette learn his Islam? Islam teaches the faithful to be tolerant and respect other people and faiths,” Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said at Istana Bukit Serene in Johor Bahru yesterday.
“I cannot accept this nonsense. This is Johor, which belongs to Bangsa Johor and it belongs to all races and faiths. This is a progressive, modern and moderate state,” Sultan Ibrahim told The Star in an exclusive interview which made the cover of the newspaper today.
“This is not a Taliban state and as the Head of Islam in Johor, I find this action to be totally unacceptable as this is extremist in nature,” he said.
Sultan Ibrahim has ordered the state Islamic religious affairs committee chairman, the religious council and the district council to probe the matter. He has also spoken to the Johor Mufti and state exco for religion about this matter.
“I want the owner to apologise to me and the people of Johor. He has made Johoreans very angry and embarrassed because this is not the Johor we want,” the English daily reported.
“The owner has gone against the vision of a united, harmonious, moderate and tolerant Johor. If he still insists on carrying on the Muslim-only practice, he can leave Johor. I suggest he set up shop in Afghanistan. His thinking is sick and goes against everything that Johor stands for.”
The Sultan said he and his family members were “deeply appalled” by the action of the launderette owner, saying if this was not stopped, it would lead to more narrow-minded actions in the name of Islam.
Pictures of the launderette went viral last week when it was reported that it had a sign saying that only Muslims were allowed to use its machines.
Sultan Ibrahim said the owner had first put up his Muslim-only notices and after the issue became controversial, the owner put up a new sign to say it was “Muslim-friendly.”
“Don’t try to be clever. It’s still the same. The owner needs to have his brains cleaned up.”
On Monday, Johor Prince Tunku Idris Sultan Ibrahim expressed dismay over the launderette’s move on Instagram. “Is this for real? I’m appalled.”
The Sultan said he was concerned over rising religious extremism.
“From now on, I am directing the state executive council and all the councils to insist that any business owners who carry out such blatant discriminatory practices should have their licences revoked. Don’t mess around with your narrow-minded religious prejudices.”
Sultan Ibrahim added that he could not keep quiet on the issue beause if this was allowed to go unchecked, “then next we will have taxis for only Muslims or non-Muslims.” – MO