A Malaysian government-linked Islamic finance group has officially apologized after its religious chief advised Muslim staff not to give holiday greetings to Hindu colleagues for an upcoming celebration he described as blasphemous.
The apology was posted on publicly traded Takaful Malaysia's Web site Tuesday.
The company, which is majority-owned by Malaysia's Bank Islam, has already distanced itself from an e-mail memo sent by its religious department chief, Mohamed Fauzi Mustaffa, that advised Muslim employees against wishing Hindus "Happy Diwali."
Malaysia takes pride in its racial harmony and discourages religious disputes. Government officials were quick to denounce the e-mail, saying it was a narrow interpretation of Islam.