Zamihan Facing RM1M Slander Suit to Apologise to Canadian Preacher

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The defamation suit filed by Canadian Muslim preacher Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips against local preacher Zamihan Mat Zin over a Facebook pictorial post allegedly branding the former as a terrorism supporter was settled after Zamihan agreed to apologise.

Settlement involves Zamihan:

  • Publishing unreserved written public apology on his Facebook within two days
  • Retracting the defamatory posting immediately
  • Prohibited permanently from making similar statements in the future
  • Paying an undisclosed sum in damages

Canadian preacher Bilal Philips has settled his lawsuit against independent preacher Zamihan Mat Zin amicably.

Azneal Ishak

This follows after Zamihan agreed to apologise for saying Philips was an international supporter of terrorism.

The two entered into a consent judgment on Tuesday (July 31), which was recorded by High Court judge Justice Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim.

Zamihan has agreed to make unequivocal and unconditional public apology that would be published on his Facebook account within two days of the consent judgment recorded.

Lawyer Meor Amir Meor Omar Baki, who represented Philips, told reporters that Zamihan has also agreed to retract the defamatory posting immediately.

“The court also allowed an injunction to prohibit the defendant from talking or publishing defamatory statements about the plaintiff orally or by writing.

“The previous security costs of RM30,000 shall be returned to the plaintiff. The court did not make any order as to costs,” he said.

In March, Philips paid RM30,000 to the High Court as security cost in the suit.

(A security cost could be imposed if the plaintiff in a suit is a non-citizen and for fear that he could not afford to pay cost, if the court ruled against him.)

When met by reporters, Philips said he was glad that the matter was handled in a good way.

“It deals with the issue of false accusation and misunderstanding. I’ve no link to terrorism. In fact, the Islamic State (IS) has made me a target and I’m on their hit list.

“I am a global figure and misinformation hurts,” he added.

Zamihan, who was also present, was represented by lawyer Fakhrul Azman Abu Hassan.

On Sept 28 last year, Philips or his full name Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips filed a defamation suit against Zamihan over a Facebook post.

In the Facebook post written in November 2016, Zamihan posted a photo of Philips saying he was a supporter of international terrorism and asked how he was given permission to give a lecture in Perlis in December 2016.

In his statement of claim, Philips, who is the Islamic Online University founder, said that he encouraged peace through Islamic teachings and rejected any form of terrorism – done under the name of religion or otherwise.

Philips, who converted to Islam in the 1970s, said that the Facebook post, which was shared 119 times, had injured his reputation and credibility, causing him to suffer considerable distress and anguish.

He also sought a restraining order against Zamihan in the form of a permanent injunction, restraining him from making similar statements in the future.

He sought at least RM1 million in general damages as well as aggravated and exemplary damages to be determined by the court.

Zamihan, an officer with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), will issue his apology on Facebook.

Philips’ lawyer Meor Amir Meor Omar Baki said his client agreed to withdraw the lawsuit if Zamihan issued an unreserved written apology within the next two days.

“He has to delete his post. He has also agreed to pay an undisclosed sum in damages,” he told reporters when met outside the High Court here. – The Star