JOHOR BARU, Nov 12 — The Johor state government, through its Islamic Affairs Department (JAINJ), has sent a summons letter to Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) members, including its leader, to attend an inquiry at the department’s office here.
Johor Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Tosrin Jarvanthi said letters have been sent out to three of the hardline Islamist movement’s members, including its state chapter leader Sallahudin Mashkuri, in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday.
He said the second batch of letters, that were sent to the movement’s headquarters, required that the three HTM followers attend and testify at JAINJ office in Johor Baru.
“If they are not present, we will discuss with the JAINJ in their place to take further action.
“The letters are in regards to their allegations against the religious authorities in the state,” said Tosrin during a press conference held at the Iskandar Islamic Centre here.
Present was Johor Mufti Datuk Yahya Ahmad, Johor Islamic Religious Council adviser Datuk Noh Gadutm and JAINJ director Datuk Md Rofiki A. Shamsudin.
Previously, Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay revealed that investigators had identified 45 individuals involved in the movement in the state, including their de facto state leader.
It is understood that the latest summons letter is the second batch sent after the first batch was sent about two weeks ago to HTM’s headquarters.
So far, the state Islamic authorities have not received any feedback from the three HTM members.
Meanwhile, Tosrin assured that the state Islamic authorities will not compromise on the HTM’s influence in Johor, which currently has only one headquarters in Skudai.
He said he would also work with the police to continue to combat the movement to ensure that they do not grow again in the future.
“For that purpose, JAINJ will meet with the police once a week to discuss steps that can be taken to deal with the movement,” said Tosrin, who is also the Bukit Permai assemblyman.
Apart from that, he said movement’s followers in the state are inactive, but monitoring by authorities will continue from time to time.
On HTM, who often issue statements on social media against the Johor religious authorities, Tosrin said the department will not be replying them.
“Action will only be taken if there are major movements involving HTM members such as rallies and so on.
“At the same time, the establishment of the Aswaja Brigade was also made to oppose the teachings of Hizbut Tahrir or contrary to the Sunni ideology,” said Tosrin, referring to the predominant denomination in the country.
Malay Mail understands HTM is against claims by JAINJ that it was deviant and extremist.
Hizbut Tahrir is a global Islamic group seeking to recreate a caliphate worldwide. The Malaysian chapter is outlawed and considered “deviant” in Selangor and Sabah, with Johor prohibiting the movement’s activities.