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Former press club manager denies being Islamophobic

islamophobia

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – September 28, 2017: A former manager of a press club has claimed to have been misunderstood over his remarks about Islam at Facebook.

According to Stephen Francis, who used to manage the National Press Club, his remarks regarding a case in Italy in which the daily newspaper The Star had misreported on was not targeted at the Malaysian Muslim community.

In essence, Francis wrote that Malaysian Muslims are taught to hate others.

His response on being queried about his comments: “I was merely referring to the quality of foreign preachers who preach hate, like Zakir Naik, who seem to be welcomed (in the country) with open arms, whereas moderate and sensible ones are detained and barred from entering.”

The news from Italy three days ago that was picked up by The Star said that a Malaysian was arrested for slapping a kissing couple.

As it turned out, the Italian authorities subsequently confirmed that the offender was in fact from Mali.

At Facebook, Francis also wrote that in order to stop Muslims from becoming moral policemen, all Islamic schools should be closed down and the government should stop funding them.

“The sultan is the head of Islam in each state, so why do we need all these buffoons with personal half-baked interpretations to mould young minds into fanatics?” wrote Francis at the comments section of The Star’s Facebook page three days ago.

In his WhatsApp message to The Mole, Francis emphasised that he is a Malaysian first and that he is beyond race or religion.

“And I have most certainly posted the follow-up report of the mistaken Mali slapper as that was my source.

“If the Star had printed their link, they too have to make that correction,” he wrote.

He continued that his comments were based on the fact that Malaysia was once governed by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, whose sidekick Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim cleverly propagated hate in disguise of religion.

“Personally, I have never been in any hate situation all my life because I have respected everyone as friends and brothers (regardless) of any race, before I allow religion to mar or dictate my choice of friends.”

Journalist-blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan also blogged about this at Rocky’s Bru.

He wrote that the erroneous news had made it clear that vicious, moronic, malicious, inflammatory individuals still lived among us.

“I am a Muslim in Malaysia and I have never been trained to hate other religions. Only in Malaysia non-Muslims can accuse me of such and get away with it.

“I hope it sinks in. You see, even if the guy who had slapped the couple was a Malaysian, it would not be fair to put all Malaysias down.

“And if he was a Malaysian Muslim, he certainly was not representative of Muslims or Malaysian Muslims or Islam at all,” wrote Ahirudin.

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

Despite becoming The MOLE's journalist in 2014, he still has a hard time traversing the city. If he is not lost, this northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make some sense out of the Malaysian political sphere.