Thousands at TV3 fest
Source: The New Straits Times - August, 1, 2004

The Information Minister today challenged the statement by the Mufti of Perak that the popular Sure Heboh carnival was haram and should be shunned by Muslims.

Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said that he considered the TV3-organised event wholesome family fun. He also said that before anyone issued a fatwa on anything, they should investigate the matter fully and consult a range of people.

"We should be careful when making statements. If not, it will confuse people and create a lot of difficulty. Before saying this is haram and that is haram, there should be a thorough study and discussion by a group. And if a decision needs to be made, let it be done by the National Fatwa Council," Kadir said after visiting the Sure Heboh carnival site today.

His comments came in the wake of a statement by Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Dr Harussani Zakaria that Muslims were prohibited from attending the carnival because it caused them to neglect their other duties and promoted vice among the young.

Harussani said it was haram for people to organise, attend and watch the concerts as they were detrimental to Muslims.

However, National Fatwa Council chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim said that Harussani's statement could not be taken as a legitimate fatwa as the matter had not been discussed by the council.

Kadir said that in his opinion, there was nothing wrong with organising entertainment for the family.

"In fact, this kind of entertainment should be encouraged because it gives the rakyat some happiness and helps to foster better relations among the races," he added.

If such a concert were haram, he wondered what would happen if the authorities organised similar entertainment for the Merdeka Day celebrations.

The controversy did not diminish the three-day event's success. The carnival drew between 300,000 and 500,000 people a day, culminating in tonight's concert at the 100,000-seat Bukit Jalil Stadium.

Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah joined thousands of Malaysians at the concert.

Most of the audience had been milling around the stadium since early afternoon to enjoy themselves with singing contests, auditions for would-be actors, and kick-boxing shows, as well as booths offering various products for sale.

TV3 chief executive officer Datuk Farid Ridzuan said people were mature enough to make their own judgment on attending the concert despite the fatwa.

"Most Muslims abide by their religious obligations and they know how to respect Islamic values even when they attend the concert.

"My conscience is clear that the event does no harm to Muslims." Commenting on the Perak Mufti's statement, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said: "If a fatwa is to be issued, it must have documents and reasons supporting it." The Sure Heboh carnival has been a sweeping success across the country, with many State Governments asking TV3 to bring the show to their States.

-- The New Straits Times

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