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More than a joker

  • If he made no mention of the Sultan, would he get into trouble for insulting other religions and promoting his extremist thinking?

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

He criticized the Johor Sultan for banning the Muslims-only launderette. He argued after talking a great deal of nonsense that he was not not afraid to criticize the Sultan because he was speaking the truth and that he could face his god.

But after he came under police investigation, this joker called Zamihan offered an instant apology to the Sultan, and his shortlived "truth" was no more mentioned by him.

His dramatic change of attitude couldn't have made a better subject for public entertainment. But this is not the only thing that is comical, for if we see him as merely a joker, we may have overlooked the big problem behind this weirdo.

This time he sought the pardon of the Sultan, and instead claimed that he would sue three media organizations and a former cabinet minister, all because he only mentioned "Sultan" but not any particular sultan. He also argued that those criticizing him were anti-Islam and disrespectful for the feelings of Muslims.

He tendered an apology to the Johor Sultan and sought his forgiveness most probably because he realized he had offended His Majesty, which is not a small matter in itself.

The Sultan commands very high respect in the Malay society and is the leader of Islam in the state, not someone a small fry like Zamihan Mat Zin should offend.

But, he did not touch on the Chinese who he called unclean dog-huggers, pork-eaters and beer-drinkers.

Non-Muslims are nothing in the eyes of these religious fanatics, and slamming these "unclean" earthlings is something justifiable that deserves no apologies of any sort.

An apology that shuns an inner reflection is in its essence hypocritical and despicable.

He did tender an apology to the Sultan, but it was not made for his remarks and stand. He still feels that he spoke on behalf of his sanctified religion and those censuring him are therefore unclean, anti-Islamic and disrespectful.

People who proclaim themselves as representation of their religions, who see themselves as nothing but the truth, and who demonize other communities with their own "sanctity" are outright terrifying.

If Zamihan's trashy remarks were just a slip of his tongue, perhaps we can still hold back some of our criticisms against him. But if we were to check through his past records, we should be able to conclude that his extremist behavior has not been occasional but customary.

Last Christmas, he claimed that Muslims must not wish Christians a Merry Christmas on the grounds that Christians are infidels.

He could hardly tolerate moderate Muslims, often accusing them of "deviating from religious teachings" and "un-Islamic".

To the more liberal clerics, such as Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and federal territories mufti Zulkifli Mohamad, he has openly called them Wahabis.

He publicly insults other ethnicities and says he does not mind being labeled a racist. He believes he can do as his wishes under the shield of religion.

This time, he has hit a snag for criticizing the Sultan.

If he made no mention of the Sultan, would he get into trouble for insulting other religions and promoting his extremist thinking?

How can we allow this joker to remain in our religious bureaucracy, misguide the believers and erode our society?

Zamihan may not be the only one of his kind. This is a grave problem we Malaysians need to seriously look into and overcome.

Prosecuting Zamihan shows that the authorities indeed treats this issue seriously, not just because he has criticized the Sultan but also because he has offended other religions, spread the seed of hatred, create social division and intimidate the peace and harmony of our multicultural society.

 

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