How preacher Zamri got into hot soup when speaking out against ‘selfish Muslims’

Zamri Vinoth made a passing remark in a talk critical of Muslims. (YouTube screenshot)

PETALING JAYA: Muslim preacher Zamri Vinoth is in trouble with the law apparently because he made a passing reference to what he described as “illogical” Hindu practices in a talk that was largely critical of Muslims.

The leader of the group that made the first police report against him, Arun Doraisamy, told FMT that Hindus were offended by a remark about their worship of a multiplicity of deities.

In that segment of the talk, Zamri said one of the reasons he left Hinduism was that he couldn’t make sense of a belief in “330 million gods” and the “worship of stone objects to which food is then offered”.

Zamri was arrested last Sunday for allegedly insulting Hinduism while giving a talk at a mosque in Kelantan on Dec 30.

In speaking of a Muslim’s duty to introduce the religion to others, he referred to his own angst over his failure to convert members of his own family and some of his close friends.

He said some of them had better morals than many Muslims. “I don’t feel they deserve to go to hell,” he added.

He criticised Muslims who didn’t care to preach the religion, calling them “selfish”, and he denounced those whose attitudes were repellent to non-Muslims.

He said: “Have you seen newspaper reports about two non-Muslims entering a mosque and being chased away with a broom?”

He also spoke of Muslims who would try to shut up non-Muslims approaching them with questions they could not answer because of their failure to educate themselves about their own religion.

“They won’t ask the easy questions,” he said. “They’ll ask questions that are important to them. For example, why did Prophet Muhammad marry a nine-year-old girl? How would you answer that?”

Some ignorant Muslims, he said, would respond with aggressive statements like, “You are not Muslim. It’s not your business to ask about Islam.”

He said many Muslims did not embody the real teachings of Islam in their daily lives.

“Imagine a non-Muslim looking at Muslims in Malaysia. Do you feel they would come towards or keep away from the religion?”

Arun, who leads a Hindu group called Agamam Ani Malaysia, said Zamri’s insulting remarks about Hinduism had “no place in peaceful Malaysia”.

He also criticised Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin’s stance on the issue as “an insult” to the institution of muftis.

Zamri’s arrest triggered a Facebook post by Asri in which he said “current political realities” allowed Muslims to be bullied.

He accused the Putrajaya administration of holding a double standard, saying it had not acted against government leaders who made statements offensive to Muslims.

“Many statements insulting Muslims have been made by individuals who are members of the current government, creating racial tension, but they were only called to give a statement,” he said.