Can an extremist rehabilitate extremists, asks Perlis mufti


PETALING JAYA: Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin today questioned the ability of an extremist to rehabilitate other extremists, in an apparent reference to controversial preacher Zamihan Mat Zin.

In a Facebook post, Asri said it was surprising that some people who held religious titles still failed to understand that Islam taught goodwill and mercy towards all.

He said it was such people who would disagree with providing assistance to non-Muslims during disasters.

“However, it is more surprising that the authorities have all this while been using people like this to supposedly rehabilitate terrorists and extremists in jail,” he added.

“The question is, can ‘extremists’ rehabilitate extremists?

“This is not the first time he has expressed his extremist thinking.

“It is not enough to condemn fellow Muslims, even non-Muslims are dragged into his extremist thinking.”

Asri added that the authorities should seriously reassess the matter.

News recently broke that Zamihan was still involved in the home ministry’s rehabilitation and deradicalisation programme for Islamic State (IS) detainees.

On Tuesday, a posting on Zamihan’s Facebook page showed him at the Tapah Prison, in Perak, with two prison officers and a lawyer who was not identified.

Zamihan wrote that the four-hour session with the detainees had been cheerful and dynamic as he took their questions.

He added that the “enlightenment session” focused on the role of the nation’s leaders, army and police in Islamic countries, as well as on the hadith on jihad, and jihad law, among other things.

Earlier this week, the preacher also criticised a surau which provided shelter to non-Muslims after the floods which hit Penang over the weekend.

In a Facebook post, he said there were still other alternative means of attending to the flood victims’ needs.

However, Asri said those who had opened mosques and suraus to the flood victims should be thanked as they had conveyed a positive message regarding Islam to others.

He added that Islam taught mercy for Muslims, non-Muslims, animals, plants and all other beings.

“This message of mercy must be expressed especially when people are in times of difficulty.”