Less than a week ago, Malaysia’s nine sultans came together to issue a rare statement expressing concern over “divisive actions” in the name of Islam.
Today, the Sultan of Selangor revoked the religious teaching credentials of controversial preacher Zamihan Mat Zin.
He also added two new measures to be implemented in mosques and suraus in the state to protect the image of Islam: The sultan declared that all talks in the mosques were to be recorded, and that the sounds of religious lectures (including the call to prayer) be lowered in volume to within the vicinity of the mosque.
Referring to Zamihan’s October 7 speech at Masjid Diraja Tengku Ampuan Jemaah, in Shah Alam, as “racist,” the sultan added in a statement released via the palace that the ex-religious speaker “lacked manners.”
He declared that Zamihan had overstepped his mark by criticizing royal institutions at a mosque that itself has royal status.
Zamihan, who works as an officer in the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), had criticized Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor’s swift actions for shutting down a launderette in his state that had a “Muslims-only” policy.
His speech went on to refer to Malaysians of Chinese-descent, rather crudely, as unhygienic. The lecture resulted in Zamihan’s arrest for sedition, though by Saturday, he had been released.
Sultan Ibrahim, a man known for his no-nonsense approach to hate-mongering called Zamihan an “empty tin can without any brains.” He ordered that the Johor Islamic authorities cut ties with Jakim.
The palace of Selangor also removed Zamihan from a position within the state’s council for vetting religious preachers.
It should be noted that in each state, the highest authority in religious affairs in the state’s sultan. In states that do not have a sultan (Penang, Melaka, Sarawak and Sabah), the guardian of Islamic affairs is the king.
Zamihan’s hate speech was not just guilty of stirring religious and racial discord, he was also seditiously overstepping whatever role he envisaged himself as having in the religious affairs of Selangor, Johor, or any state.
So yeah, “empty can without any brains” pretty much sums it up.
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