PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Offering festive wishes to the non-Muslims does not make one less of a Muslim, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has said.
Writing in a Facebook posting on the Johor Southern Tigers football page on Christmas Day (Dec 25) Tunku Ismail said Islam teaches its followers to respect people of different races and beliefs and to stay away from any form of extremism.
"Islam is a religion of peace and love. Islam teaches us to respect people of different races and beliefs," he wrote.
"I live in a state with various races and religions, and I was taught by my forefathers to respect all of them."
He said it was the unity of 'Bangsa Johor' - the term the royal family uses to refer to its people regardless of their racial background - that made Johor what it is today.
"I have Malay, Chinese and Indian friends. During Chinese New Year, I wish them Happy Chinese New year. To the Hindus, I wish them Happy Deepavali and for the Christians, I wish them Merry Christmas. That doesn't make me less of a Muslim, that makes us human," he added.
"During Hari Raya Aildilfitri, people of other races wish us Selamat Hari Raya. If others can respect my beliefs, why can't I respect them?" he asked.
Tunku Ismail then told his fellow Johoreans to "be different from certain parts of this country".
"Being a Muslim is about your faith and the purity of the heart. (The) Quran is our guide. Don't try to be smarter than the Quran," he wrote.
"Malays should remember our roots and education since childhood, and not be influenced by foreign elements. Let us refrain from extremism," he added.
He said it puzzled him as to why people have to be afraid of respecting one another.
"Hate doesn't make you a Muslim; it is common sense, love, and respecting one another that makes you a Muslim and human being. The quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts, so choose wisely."