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Muslim preacher denies insulting Johor Ruler, claims media spin to incite hatred

October 11, 2017 4:02 AM
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Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zain said in a statement that he had never mentioned Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar’s name in the video of the lecture. — Screen capture via YouTubeKUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Preacher Zamihan Mat Zain today denied reports that he had openly criticised the Johor Ruler for condemning a Muslim-only launderette in a public lecture on Sunday.

Zamihan, who heads Islamic organisation Aswaja, said in a statement that he had never mentioned Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar’s name in the video of the lecture referred to by news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT), which yesterday reported the man’s alleged insult.

The Aswaja president also denied reports that he is a Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) officer, saying he had left the federal Islamic agency 13 years ago. He accused the news portal of intentionally associating him with Jakim in the report to tarnish Islam’s image and sow hatred.

“The FMT article was clearly malicious and libelous of me apart from the attempt to sow hatred between the Palace and religious leaders in the Muslim-only launderette issue,” Zamihan said.

“In the video that was used as reference by FMT for its report not once did I mention Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar. I also did not use any crude, harsh [sic] or elements that could incite in the said lecture.

“I am prepared to be investigated on the belief that courage for truth and fear only of Allah,” he added.

The Aswaja president went on to say it was unlikely that he would criticise a Sultan he once praised as the “Ruler of the people” and a respectable observer of Sunni teachings in a lecture he gave in 2013.

“I have a huge respect for the Sultan… especially the Sultan of Johor who is the Ruler of the people who adheres strictly to the teachings of the Sunnah Wal Jamaah (ASWJ). So it’s impossible that I would have said anything to insult or hurt the Sultan’s feelings.

“However, I humbly seek for forgiveness if whatever I said had slighted His Royal Highness’ feelings,” he said.

In the lecture, which was recorded on video and shared on YouTube, Zamihan said “a sultan” was wrong to stop a launderette in Muar from implementing a Muslim-only policy.

“The Muslim-only laundry was made such a big deal… the whole world knows about it when it’s just a small matter. There is a Sultan that said a Muslim-only laundry should not be in his state “This is not a Taliban state or Afghanistan zam-zam alakazam.

“It was wrong for His Royal Highness the Sultan to say such a thing. The Muslim-only laundry should actually be praised for wanting to preserve purity for Muslim clothes,” he said in the video recording.

Sultan Ibrahim had condemned the operator of a laundry that served Muslims exclusively two weeks ago after the issue went viral and was reported both domestically and internationally.

The Johor Ruler said the practice resembled the extremist behaviour like those of the Talibans, a militant group based in Afghanistan.

The Johor Ruler also said the operator had tarnish Islam’s image and that his action was a threat to harmony. The operator had since apologised and remove the Muslim-only sign.

Zamihan now said he would sue FMT and other media that carried the report if they fail to retract and apologise within a week.

The Aswaja president is also calling for the authorities to investigate FMT for sedition for allegedly trying to incite racial strife and strain religious relations.


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