PETALING JAYA: G25’s Noor Farida Ariffin has urged Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to advise Zamihan Mat Zin against making derogatory remarks about others, following the deputy prime minister’s defence of the controversial preacher.
Noor Farida, who is the spokesperson for the group of prominent Malays, acknowledged that Zamihan might be useful for Putrajaya’s programmes to deradicalise local Islamic State (IS) sympathisers.
She added however that this did not give him the right to make disparaging comments about those from other races and religions.
“That applies not just to Zamihan, but to all other preachers, especially Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) preachers. They represent the government and they should be able to respect people of other races and religions.
“We are a multiracial country. Does Zamihan want to encourage dissension and racial strife among the Malaysian people?” she said to FMT.
Zahid, who is also home minister, had said that Zamihan was an expert in rehabilitating those involved in terrorist activities.
“Even though he is prohibited from giving religious talks in Selangor, his expertise in rehabilitating terrorists or potential terrorists is of value.
“He is an asset when it comes to rehabilitating the faith of those who have gone astray,” Zahid said.
However, Noor Farida said Zamihan had created issues over the Muslims-only laundrette in Johor, whose operator was rebuked by Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.
“It is totally unacceptable to me to have preachers and staff of Jakim and all other Islamic agencies who have this kind of negative attitude towards people of other faiths.
“Zahid should ensure that Jakim respects the rights of others,” she said.
Amanah strategy director Dzulkefly Ahmad meanwhile said Zahid was wrong to defend Zamihan when saying he was an asset in rehabilitating terrorists.
Speaking to FMT, he said Zahid “did not understand the genesis of radicalism”.
“The genesis of radicalism is when someone has this holier-than-thou attitude. They think they are supreme to others.
“The embodiment and DNA of Zamihan is extreme in nature. You can see from his statement on the surau in Penang, even during such a crisis. This is the genesis of a fundamentalist or extremist thought,” he told FMT.
Dzulkefly was referring to Zamihan’s criticism on Facebook of a surau which provided shelter to non-Muslims after the floods which hit Penang over the weekend.
Dzulkefly also asked if Zamihan had the tolerance or grace to embrace a multicultural country like Malaysia.
“How can he teach people that Islam teaches mercy for all and that Islam is able to relate to others? All this should be able to come from someone who embodies Islam in a tolerant manner and gives respect to others.
“How is he then supposed to make radicals understand tolerance?
“The tolerance to relate to others and their views is quite Quranic, actually.”
Dzulkefly said Zamihan’s statements on the laundrette in Johor and the surau in Penang clearly showed where he stood on tolerance.
“Maybe Zahid has to explain in detail what Zamihan does for them to rehabilitate local IS sympathisers. Does he have some secret formula?
“Can Zamihan teach them about the inclusive Islam? This is why I said Zahid was wrong again. Zamihan cannot give what he doesn’t have.”