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Let the ‘eagle’ be, says Nazri

PETALING JAYA: There is no problem with Langkawi’s giant eagle replica as it is not used for religious purposes, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

He described Perak deputy mufti Zamri Hashim’s view that Islam forbade full-bodied statues of living creatures as his personal view.

“That is his opinion, it doesn’t merit any comment.

“As we all know, we do not use the statue for prayers,” he saidyesterday.

On Friday, Perak deputy mufti Zamri Hashim had written in a local daily that Islam forbade full-bodied statues of living creatures such as humans or animals, and as such the eagle statue should be demolished.

Defending his deputy’s views, Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said the construction of replicas or monuments resembling living creatures was forbidden.

Kedah Aman Makmur Tourism chief executive officer Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad said there was no need to demolish the statue as the eagle was the icon of Langkawi.

“If we go to any tourist destination there is an icon for each place like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“When people talk about Langkawi, they think about the eagle. I think the intention was only for branding and tourism,” he said.

Kedah MATTA chairman Abd Rashid Hashim also strongly opposed any idea of demolishing the eagle replica.

“It is really illogical to demolish the statue. Such iconic statues are not just in Langkawi only but also found in other places.

“If we demolish the eagle, authorities might have to demolish the cat statues in Kuching and the National Monument in Kuala Lumpur.”

He said Langkawi had a rich avian heritage, noting the name itself was believed to have been derived from the Malay word for eagle, helang.

Kedah religion, tourism, heritage and public works committee chairman Datuk Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid was quoted in a Malay daily as saying the matter should be referred to the mufti department of each state.

He said this issue did not just involve Kedah as there were also giant cat replicas in Kuching.

Netizens were outraged by reports that the eagle statue might be demolished on the grounds that it was haram (forbidden) in Islam.

“We should look forward, be open minded in a multiracial country, not to be too fanatical… do this haram, do that haram,” said Izh Ismail whose comment received the most likes at 461.

Rodzi Abdullah called on the mufti to instead focus on more relevant social issues affecting the Malay community such as teen pregnancy and mat rempit.

“I’m so sick of this nonsense,” Rodzi said, receiving 207 likes from fellow commenters.

Meanwhile, Oon Lay Wah and Socka Lingam asked what was wrong with the eagle, which has always been a symbol of Langkawi.-thestar

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