KOTA KINABALU, Nov 14 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested that politicians get commissioned as religious preachers if they want to conduct "ceramah" (talks) on Islam so as to avert disunity and confusion among Muslims in the country.
"I notice that many politicians conduct religious lectures without having been commissioned to do so. Religious lectures with a political motive cannot be trusted.
"The commissioning is to ensure that the lectures adhere to the true Islamic teachings propagated by Prophet Muhammad," he told reporters after opening the annual general meeting of the United Sabah Islamic Association (USIA), here on Saturday.
Dr Mahathir, who is president of the Malaysian Muslim Welfare Organisation (Perkim), said it was feared that the differences of opinion among certain Muslim personalities would be misinterpreted by Muslims and lead to disunity and factions.
He also said that the commissioning of the religious preachers would also ensure that true Islamic teachings were disseminated in all the states.
"We find that some people can preach, while some cannot. Some states can accept a certain preacher, while others cannot," he said.
He said differences of opinion among Muslims could occur but this should not necessarily lead to enmity.
He also said that Muslims should not neglect other knowledge in their quest for religious excellence.
"We should not confine ourselves to preaching only. If we want to tell others about the distinction of Islam, but are seen as poor, weak and dependent, then how can we convince them about Islam?" he asked.