Perlis Mufti: Can an Extremist Rehabilitate Extremists?

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Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has questioned the ability of an “extremist” to rehabilitate imprisoned terrorists and other religious extremists.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, he said that it was surprising that some people who held religious titles failed to understand that Islam taught goodwill towards all.

He said it was such people who would disagree with helping non-Muslims in times of need such as when mosques sheltered non-Muslim flood victims in Penang.

“But what is more surprising is that that the authorities have all this while been using people like this to rehabilitate jailed terrorists and extremists,” he added.

“The question is whether an extremist can rehabilitate extremists,” Asri asked.

Asri added that the authorities should seriously reassess the matter.

While it appeared that he was referring to a specific person, Asri never mentioned that person by name.

He also praised the mosque and surau officials in Penang for opening their spaces to those affected by the floods regardless of their religion.

He said these people had “expressed a good message about Islam” to the people of other faiths.

He added that Islam taught mercy for Muslims, non-Muslims, animals, plants and all other beings.

“This message of mercy must be expressed especially when people are in times of difficulty,” he said.

In contrast, controversial preacher Zamihan Mat Zain had criticised a surau which provided shelter to non-Muslim victims of the Penang flood.

In a Facebook post, he said there were still other alternative means of attending to the flood victims’ needs.

On Tuesday, he posted on his Facebook page a picture showing him at the Tapah Prison in Perak, with a caption explaining that he had a four-hour session with Islamic State (IS) detainees there.

News recently broke that Zamihan was still involved in the home ministry’s rehabilitation and deradicalisation programme for IS detainees.