Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin lecturer Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah said it was wrong for preacher Zamihan Mat Zin to make sweeping statements about the “cleanliness” of the Chinese community.
In an article today, Ridhuan argued that the Chinese community are known for keeping themselves and their environment physically clean and urged readers to examine the restaurants, homes and workplaces owned by Chinese.
He added that it was rare for him to encounter Chinese homes that are dirty.
“It is true that the majority of Chinese do not clean themselves with water after going to the toilet, as they prefer to use toilet paper.
“But to generalise and say the Chinese are ‘not clean’, I cannot agree with this,” said Ridhuan in an article published on Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s website.
Ridhuan was responding to statements made by the head of Pertubuhan Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah Malaysia (Aswaja) Zamihan Mat Zin during a lecture in Shah Alam last week.
Zamihan (photo), while arguing the merits for a Muslim-exclusive laundrette, said the clothings worn by the Chinese community are likely tainted by “najis” (filth).
This would in turn contaminate the clothings of Muslims if they were to share the same laundrette, therefore posing a problem for Muslims who need to perform their religious obligations.
Zamihan also criticised an unnamed ruler and two state muftis for not supporting laundrettes that were exclusive to Muslims.
Meanwhile, Ridhuan urged his brethren to not generalise because it would have an effect on “dakwah” (proselytism) efforts.
He said Islam was more than just talking about cleanliness, but it also involved deeds, such as educating children.
“Sometimes, I tell myself jokingly, we are obsessed with cleanliness (in a religious sense) but our children are thronging shopping malls, loitering, getting involved with drugs, theft, including shoe theft at mosques and other embarrassing things. These are by people who consume halal food.
“On the other hand, those who are ‘unclean’, who consume pork and rear dogs, among other things, they are working day and night for money and to be rich.
“Their social problems are not as concerning as ours today. In view of this, it is not wise to generalise,” he said.
He said Muslims need to accept the realities of living in a plural society. He suggested that those who disagreed should then not visit Chinese shops or use physical currencies.
“Don’t touch coins or paper money because it was circulated in shops that sell pork and gambling dens.
“Why are we keeping money in our wallets and bringing it to prayers? Isn’t that unclean?” asked Ridhuan.