Rename Bon Odori to ‘Japanese cultural festival’ to prevent confusion, says Perlis Mufti

PETALING JAYA: The Bon Odori festival should be renamed to avoid confusion among Muslims, says Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

“If possible, give a new name, or an additional name, in addition to Bon Odori to prevent confusion with the original festival that has elements of syirik (polytheism) and khurafat (superstition).

“It can be named as the Japanese Cultural Festival, or the Japanese society. With this, the festival can be continued and polemics will be reduced,” said Mohd Asri in a Facebook post on Friday (June 10).

ALSO READ: Stay away from Bon Odori, PAS tells Muslims despite royal decree

Mohd Asri also said the authorities must ensure no religious elements are present in the Bon Odori festival.

“Do not incorporate superstition or syirik, and no rituals representing beliefs are allowed,” added Mohd Asri.

The Bon Odori festival is scheduled to be held at the Shah Alam Sports Complex on July 16.

PAS vice president Datuk Idris Ahmad, who’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs, came under the spotlight after saying that Muslims should not attend the annual Bon Odori festival as it had elements of other religion in it.

ALSO READ : Go for Bon Odori, Sultan tells Idris

Idris was subsequently reprimanded by Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who ordered the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) not to forbid Muslims from attending the festival.

The Selangor Ruler also directed Jais and Shah Alam City Hall officers to attend the Bon Odori Festival to get a true picture of the event and ascertain that it did not tarnish the faith of Muslims.

Despite the royal rebuke by the Selangor Sultan, both PAS Ulama Council and its women wing, issued statements late Thursday (June 9), reiterating calls for Muslims not to attend the Bon Odori Festival.

ALSO READ : Bon Odori is a celebration of diversity, says ex-Sabah CM

PAS says it will continue calling Muslims not to attend the Bon Odori Festival due to concerns of “religious elements” at the Japanese cultural event.

The event has been held here for decades in line with Malaysia’s Look East Policy and creates a platform of goodwill between Malaysians and the many Japanese businesses that had heavily invested in Selangor.