(JTA) — The official government sermon delivered in mosques across Malaysia called Jews the "main enemy."
The sermon, prepared and distributed by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department and delivered on March 30, said that "Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behavior and murders performed by them.”
It also called on community leaders to increase the awareness and understanding of the importance of Jerusalem, referring to it by its Arabic name, al-Quds.
"The honor of al-Quds and the al-Aksa mosque must be defended by all Muslims, as it is holy land that must be blessed," the sermon said.
The sermon "makes a mockery of Malaysia’s Constitution, which promises that religions other than Islam may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement. "Further, it puts to the lie the repeated calls in international bodies by Malaysia’s prime minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib, for religions to forsake intimidation and violence. It threatens the few Jews in Malaysia and millions beyond its borders."
The following day, an officially sanctioned state seminar, "Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?" was convened by the Johor Education Department and the Johor Mufti Department, which required 55 schools to send two religious teachers each to deal with the "threat" of Christians to Malaysian Muslims.
In light of the two incidents, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced a travel advisory to Malaysia, calling on its Jewish and Christian supporters "to re-evaluate any travel plans to Malaysia, whether on business or as tourists.”
The center also said it will ask the U.S. State Department to launch its own investigation of state-sponsored religious bigotry in Malaysia.