PETALING JAYA - PAS leaders have maintained that the late Ibrahim Libya and his group of followers who clashed with the police in Memali in Baling, Kedah, in 1985 were not religious deviants.
PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu said the party viewed Ibrahim as a religious teacher who championed the cause of the people and strongly opposed the Internal Security Act (ISA).
He said the clash between Ibrahim's followers and police in Kampung Memali on Nov 19, 1985, stemmed from their refusal to allow police, who had surrounded the village, to arrest their leader under the ISA.
"It is not correct at all to say that he was a religious deviant as there has not been a single fatwa (edict) declaring Ibrahim Libya as such," said Mohamad.
He was among PAS leaders who objected to a fact file in The Star on Tuesday, which included Ibrahim's group as an example of cases involving deviants who had resorted to violence. The fact file was in relation to the police fingering the Tuhan Harun deviant sect group as the prime suspects in the murder of Pahang Islamic Religious Department (Jaip) enforcement unit head Ahmad Rafli Abdul Malek on Sunday.
At a press conference at Parliament lobby on Tuesday, PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan demanded that The Star apologise and withdraw the fact file within three days or face legal action.
PAS deputy spiritual leader Datuk Dr Haron Din said it was most uncalled for and "un-Islamic" to speak ill of any Muslim who had died, especially if the deceased was a person of good character.
Haron said he had met Ibrahim at several functions but got to know more about his character through Ibrahim's brother (Dr Rushdi) whom he is close to.
"I do not see any deviation in his religious beliefs, what more to call him a religious deviant because he died as a PAS member.
"If it was true that he was a religious deviant, PAS would have taken action against him long before his death," said Haron, adding that PAS regarded Ibrahim as a martyr.
The Star fact file described Ibrahim as a religious teacher whose group had been "declared by authorities as deviant and attempting to disrupt public order". This was documented in a government White Paper dated Feb 25, 1986.
The paper tabled in the Dewan Rakyat stated that the Memali incident, in which four policemen and 14 civilians were killed, was caused by the actions of the group described as "religious extremists" who "used religion for political purposes".
"The group was also willing to define vaguely certain things in the teachings of Islam until it created confusion. They were willing to declare Muslims who were not from their group as infidels, creating conflict, opposition and animosity among Muslims in this country," the document stated.