Perlis mufti says will meet Indian community to explain controversial poem

By Yiswaree Palansamy
Mohd Asri defended his poem saying that no rational Malaysian would find cows sacred and revere them. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 ― Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said today he will meet the Indian community to explain his controversial poem criticising “cow worshippers”.

This comes after the Perlis mufti's remarks were widely criticised online, although he has defended his poem saying that no rational Malaysian would find cows sacred and revere them.

"I will meet with the Indian community and explain the situation. Possibly this week," Asri told Malay Mail Online.

The Perlis mufti has maintained that the poem was instead directed at Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s administration for allegedly allowing Muslims to be killed over the slaughter of cows, animals that are considered sacred by Hindus.

“For those who do not deify cows in this country like in India, there is no need to be slighted. The poem was for current affairs in India,” Asri said on his Facebook page on Friday.

Asri had written the cryptic poem criticising “cow worshippers” for trying to have an unnamed preacher handed over to a tyrannical government.

The characteristics he describes in the poem resemble practices that exist in India. Other facets of the poem similarly resemble ongoing local developments.

Asri said those who are highly educated will not worship cows, or deem them sacred, what more kill others for the sake of them.

At least 10 Muslim men have been killed in similar incidents across the country by Hindu mobs on suspicion of eating beef or smuggling cows in the last two years.

Critics say the vigilantes have been emboldened by the election in 2014 of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.