by Lorie Ann Cascaro
HONG KONG — A Muslim group here wanted to clear up negative notions about Islam, responding to earlier reports on potential Islamic State terrorism threats in Hong Kong.
Joseph Yusuf Bautista, president of the Helpers of Islam Group, on Monday said killing humans and doing acts of terrorism are all against the teachings of Quran.
“We also don’t know the truth about IS,” he said, noting that whether or not the IS is being used to discriminate Islam is yet to be known.
Some news agencies reported last week that Islamic State militants allegedly targeted Muslim workers here.
A local newspaper, South China Morning Post reported an alleged missing pregnant Indonesian worker believed to join the terrorist group.
Nearly 150,000 Indonesians worked in Hong Kong, according to its Census and Statistics Department in 2012.
The group released an open letter to Hong Kong people in response to the news SCMP and other news agencies. The letter aimed “to enlighten and portray the true teachings of Islam in relation to extremism, terrorism and corruption of any kind in any form of society.”
With some 60 active members, the Muslim group is composed of “rebirths” or those who converted their religion to Islam, he said. The group’s letter requested for everyone to judge the religion by its original scriptures, adding, “There are bad apples in every basket.”
Regarding the alleged missing Indonesian, Bautista said it is impossible for a pregnant woman to go to a battle.
The Hong Kong Police Force said Monday it has “no specific intelligence to suggest that the city is likely to be a target of terrorism,” adding that the terrorist threat level remains at moderate. The police will monitor terrorist trends to prevent terrorist activities in the city, its public relationS office said. It added that the police will conduct regular trainings and multi-agency exercises to ensure “high level of preparedness.”
Terrorism-related acts are criminalized in Hong Kong under existing laws, the police said. Asked to respond to the alleged IS recruitment, Leung Kwok-hung, member of the Panel on Security of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council stressed on Monday the need for reliable sources.
“How can journalists know about that,” he said, adding that he did not hear any official information from the police nor security bureau.
Some 270,000 Muslims live in Hong Kong, including 140,000 Indonesians and 30,000 Chinese, according to a government factsheet on November 2014. The rest are non-Chinese born in Hong Kong, and others from South Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries, it stated. The city has five principal masjids with the biggest, Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Centre in Nathan Road, that can accommodate up to 3,500 worshippers, as stated in the factsheet.