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The Zamihans in our midst

October 12, 2017

After speech by preacher, former minister appeals to Malay Rulers and the people to check the path the country is taking, saying the government won't do anything.

COMMENT

zaid-zamihanBy Zaid Ibrahim

I have been writing and speaking regularly about all kinds of subjects, involving all sorts of personalities, for more than eight years.

I have spoken about the prime minister as well as ministers, religious leaders and others, and I have done so in my usual style, which is straight to the point and with as much candour and frankness as possible.

In all this time, no one has threatened to sue me for defamation. This is probably because I have always been careful with the words I have used.

Of course, I have on occasion used harsh words and expressions for effect, but I did so only when necessary and when I could justify using those words. Hurting and putting people to shame is not what I do.

However, this defamation-free period has come to an end. Zamihan Mat Zin (who became famous a few days ago for his speech on why the Muslim-only launderette was necessary) issued a statement that he would sue me, as well as some media outlets, for defaming him.

I will not delve into the issues he took exception to in my statements. However, I would like you all to listen to his speech for yourself, if you can.

I consider his speech to be criminal in nature and dangerous to our community and country. No civilised society will sit and watch such a tirade without caring for the consequences and repercussions it may bring.

Zamihan calls himself an “Islamic preacher” and he is the president of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah Organisation (Aswaja), which claims to represent Sunni Muslims (who are the only “recognised” Muslims in our country).

Some say that he has a doctorate, and I am really interested to know what subject his doctoral thesis was about.

I would like to know how the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) could have employed this person as a preacher and I am equally interested to know how the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) considered it fit to grant him permission to speak on the subject he spoke about.

I am interested to know how the other communities, especially the Chinese, will deal with this person and many more like him, seeing as these “preachers” are being paid by the taxpayers to spread hatred and lies about how “dirty” the Chinese and the infidels are.

I am interested to know what else the Malay Rulers will do, other than to reprimand him and to ban the Muslims-only launderette.

There are many others like Zamihan all over the country, and they use Islam as their shield to expound equally dangerous ideas that can burn our country and community to the ground.

I am interested to know if the Barisan Nasional government considers producing such preachers to be part of the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) initiative and that the glory of Islam requires such preachers to roam the country free from restraint.

This threat of a legal suit against me, and other threats, will not deter me from continuing to speak out against such dangerous ideologies. It won’t stop me saying why those in charge of Islam, as well as the government, must wake up to the danger of such preachers before it is too late.

The authorities must not be scared of religious preachers who promote hate. The authorities must be able to differentiate between those who promote Islam according to the way of the Prophet, which was the peaceful way, and those who have hatred in their blood and hide under the cover of religion in order to wreak havoc in our country.

The hate-mongers will destroy our values and the fabric of our society. Ultimately, they will wage war against the people of this country. You must be able to see this if you look hard enough.

Here is something for my readers to think about, and perhaps also for Their Royal Highnesses the Malay Rulers as the custodians of Islam. It is a true story that happened yesterday.

An 86-year-old woman was admitted to Gleneagles Hospital (a well-known private hospital in Kuala Lumpur), following a fall.

She needed an operation to have her hip replaced. She was lying in bed and couldn’t walk. Another old lady was kind enough to visit her and bring her a chicken pie.

So, for dinner she asked a nurse to heat it up in the microwave. The nurse refused because she was not sure if the pie was halal or not, since the pie was brought in from outside.

What religion are we teaching Malays? Where is that small bit of kindness that for years has been our characteristic as a people? Must we destroy everything that’s humane and part of our nature just to “save” our religion?

To the Malay Rulers and to the people of Malaysia generally: please do something to make this better because our government won’t.

Zaid Ibrahim is a former minister.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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