Mahdzir Khalid’s statement that the government will not allow national schools to become “too Islamic” has come under fire.
Several groups, including PAS, have accused the Education Minister of not giving precedence to the role of Islam in the country’s education system.
Isma President Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman said Mahdzir had failed to understand the “true philosophy” of the country’s education system.
“Education policies should be consistent in the effort towards building a virtuous, moral and united nation. He (Mahdzir) has to equally weigh the various social ills afflicting Muslim students due to the weaknesses apparent in Islamic Studies in schools,” he told FMT.
Yesterday, Mahdzir said that the government would not allow national schools to become “too Islamic” because Malaysia was a modern Islamic nation.
“We will not see it happen,” he commented on the worries of non-Muslim parents who said that it was one of the factors that contributed to racial segregation in national schools.
PAS Ulama Chief Mahfodz Mohamed said the Minister’s understanding of the meaning of true Islam was “shallow”.
“He is a Muslim and his goals and direction must have elements of Islam, and must not be fully secular. As Muslims, we want true Muslims and not half-Muslims,” he told FMT.
He added that the country’s policies must be guided by Islam as it was the country’s official religion.
“Don’t tell me that people who cover their aurat, people who wear the tudung, and people who pray can be considered too Islamic. He has to give a clear definition,” he said.
He questioned whether Mahdzir wanted to set aside the role of religion in national education.
“Or is he just catering to the insistence of the non-Muslims?” he asked.
Meanwhile, Pahang Mufti Abdul Rahman Osman said the Islamic approach in schools had many benefits.
“If the Islamic approach as used in schools could lead towards extremism then we agree that it should be restricted. But if there are activities that can be beneficial to students such as usrah (study circles), prayer and the like, then this should not be restricted,” he said.