Malaysia: `It’s haram to join demonstrations`

Malaysia`s Fatwa council has banned Muslims in the country from taking part in "unproductive demonstrations".

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia`s Fatwa council on Sunday banned Muslims in the country from taking part in "unproductive demonstrations".

"Rioting, causing disturbances and damaging public property are all forbidden by Islam. This also applies to any intention to topple a duly elected government by organising such demonstrations,” council chairman, Abdul Shukor Husin, was quoted by state news agency Bernama as saying.

The Islamic authority`s edict came nine days after police fired teargas and water cannon to disperse about 50,000 electoral activists who took to the streets in downtown Kuala Lumpur demanding a clean and fair election.

The protest, one of the biggest in the country’s history, was the second organised by electoral reform group Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) in less than a year to show they were upset with the federal government’s failure to address alleged widespread electoral fraud and delay in executing changes to the electoral roll.

Hundreds were injured as demonstrators hurled concrete slabs and bottles at the police.

Authorities arrested 512 people and released them later.

Abdul Shukor said the Fatwa council viewed seriously that some Muslims resorted to rioting during the protest.

He said more discussion channels could be implemented without sacrificing peace in the country. Sixty-one percent of Malaysia`s population are Muslims.