PETALING JAYA: A PAS leader has lamented that the party often falls victim to the misconception that it is against non-Muslims, despite its efforts over the years to reach out to the community.
PAS treasurer Iskandar Abdul Samad said the party was open to dialogue with church leaders, for example, to counter Islamophobia and provide a better understanding of the faith.
He pointed out that for decades, non-Muslims in PAS-led Kelantan had been free to practise their faith and carry on with their lifestyle, adding that a similar approach was also adopted in the three other states it governs – Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis.
“Yet, we still fall victim to misconceptions, and we hope the public does not categorically accept what is said about us without verifying it.
“We are happy to explain to the people, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike,” he said.
Iskandar said while the party would continue to uphold Islamic principles, it would also respect the rights of non-Muslims.
He was responding to Bersatu’s associate wing chairman Chong Fat Full, who said PAS needed to be mindful of its rhetoric if Perikatan Nasional wanted to secure support from non-Malay voters.
Chong said certain actions by PAS in Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis had hindered efforts to garner support from non-Malays.
He also said there was confusion among the non-Malays regarding Islamic laws, exacerbated by DAP’s “doctrine”, which should be clarified as much as possible.
Last month, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said the party must work to win over non-Malay and non-Muslim voters in the 16th general election.
He said PAS failed to secure sufficient seats to form the government in the last general election after it struggled to attract non-Malay support.