Canadian preacher sues Zamihan over terror support claim

Preacher Zamihan Mat Zin (pictured) is being sued for defamation over his Facebook post branding a Canadian scholar as a former terrorism supporter. — YouTube video screengrabPreacher Zamihan Mat Zin (pictured) is being sued for defamation over his Facebook post branding a Canadian scholar as a former terrorism supporter. — YouTube video screengrabKUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — A Canadian scholar has filed a defamation lawsuit here against local preacher Zamihan Mat Zin over a Facebook post branding the former as a terrorism supporter.

According to lawyer Meor Amir, his client Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips filed the lawsuit on September 29 over Zamihan’s Facebook post from 2016.

In the pictorial post, Abu Ameenah’s likeness is shown along with the caption: “AWAS!!! Say No to Wahhabi! International Terrorism Supporter dibenarkan berceramah di Perlis… Ahli akademik dan pakar undang-undang yang bukan Wahhabi disekat? Keterbukaan atau Kebutaan???” (Beware!!! Say no to Wahhabism! International Terrorism Supporter is allowed to speak in Perlis… (but) academics and legal experts who are not Wahhabis are blocked? Openness or blindness?)

“Today was the second case management and the KL High Court has set November 30 to hear the defendant’s side on the security for cost,” Meor told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

In the statement of claim made available to Malay Mail Online, the Canadian stressed that he has never been involved with any form of terrorism-related activities.

In Zamihan’s statement of defence, he said he based his remarks on Abu Ameenah’s previous bans from entering the UK, Australia, Denmark and Kenya.

He also claimed that the Canadian preacher, who converted to Islam in the 1970s, had been detained in the Philippines for allegedly instigating and recruiting members to join radical activities.

News of the lawsuit comes after the Court of Appeal yesterday ordered Zamihan to pay RM10,000 to Syria Care for accusing the non-governmental organisation of harbouring Shiah groups in the country.

When announcing its court victory, the group said the appellate court also issued a restraining order preventing Zamihan from repeating the allegations elsewhere.

The court also ordered the Star Media Group to publish an apology over a report titled “Senseless jihad puts Malaysia as violence hub, says Home Ministry officer” that quoted Zamihan, which it has since done.

Zamihan is a Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) officer who was seconded to the Home Ministry and now placed at the Prisons Department as a deradicalisation officer for terrorism and extremists elements.

He is also the president of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association (Aswaja) and principal assistant secretary of the Home Ministry’s Security and Public Order Division.

He gained prominence for allegedly criticising the Sultan of Johor over the latter’s action against a Muslim-only laundry in the state, and was briefly detained for sedition.