PETALING JAYA: A religious preacher in Penang has vowed to be more mindful when giving religious talks after he stirred controversy recently when he advised Muslims against patronising hair salons run by non-Muslims.
In a Facebook post, PKR’s Wan Ji Wan Hussin, who is also an information officer in the Penang chief minister’s office, revealed he had met Shahul Hamid Seeni Muhammad on Sunday after the preacher allegedly uttered offensive remarks that were uploaded on the Internet.
He said Shahul was prepared to apologise to non-Muslims over the controversial comments he made.
“At the end of our meeting, he stated his readiness to apologise to non-Muslims who felt hurt by the contents of the videos,” Wan Ji said in a Facebook posting.
Shahul, the head of a madrasah in Bayan Lepas, had in a number of talks between 2015 and last month, spoken of his disapproval of Muslims using the hairdressing services of non-Muslim operators, and discouraged Muslim parents from sending their children to schools managed by non-Muslims.
He said he also opposed greetings like “Happy Birthday” and “Sannah Helwah” (in Arabic), saying they were part of a culture of religious ignorance.
In one clip, he was seen telling a congregation that playing games like chess, snakes-and-ladders and Monopoly were forbidden as well.
Shahul was a runner-up winner in an Islamic reality programme called “Pencetus Ummah” (Spark of the Muslim Community) produced by Astro in 2013.
According to Wan Ji, Shahul listened to his views on the matter with an open heart.
“He promised he would be careful in the future when stating his views on Islamic rules while teaching,” Wan Ji said.
The video clips of Shahul’s speeches became viral on social media after the Conference of Rulers expressed concern about the rise of extremism among Muslims that could affect the harmony among the different races.
This came after two laundrette operators, in Muar and Kangar, were criticised by various quarters for enforcing a Muslim-only customer policy recently.
On Oct 19, Penang executive councillor in charge of religious affairs, Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, said Shahul may be investigated for creating disharmony or illegal preaching, after he had earlier defended the preacher’s right to say what he wanted.