Muslim charged with blasphemy says not the man accused by Perak Mufti

Wan Sulaiman Wan Ismail (left) with his lawyer Mansoor Saat beside him, gives a press conference at Pusat Komas, Petaling Jaya, May 29, 2015. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Wan Sulaiman Wan Ismail (left) with his lawyer Mansoor Saat beside him, gives a press conference at Pusat Komas, Petaling Jaya, May 29, 2015. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The Perak Muslim charged with blasphemy for posing questions about Islam has denied that he is the man Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria called a “liar” engaged in “deviant teachings”.

Wan Sulaiman Wan Ismail, 54, said it was likely a case of mistaken identity when the Perak mufti described as a respected scholar who had all the country’s muftis as his student.

“I think he got the wrong person,” he told reporters when asked on the matter here.

“All I ever did was ask them (Perak Islamic Affairs Department, JAIP) to explain why are the things that I read in books and don’t understand,” he added.

His lawyer, Mansoor Saat, who accompanied him at the press conference, said the offences stated by the Perak mufti were clearly different from those listed in the charge sheet against Wan Sulaiman.

“It is completely different from the charge sheet we have,” he said.

Wan Sulaiman was charged in the Ipoh Shariah High Court under Section 15 of the Perak Shariah Criminal Enactment 1992 with, among others, “mocking, ridiculing or insulting Quranic or hadith texts”.

He was also charged with “denying” the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad by questioning the shahadah.

Earlier today, Harussani called Wan Sulaiman an “outright liar” who taught “deviant” teachings.

He also alleged that Wan Sulaiman had lied to his students that he was a very respected religious scholar who had given classes to all of the country’s muftis.

In addition, Harussani accused Wan Sulaiman of claiming that the “shahadah”, or the Islamic declaration of faith, must mention the latter’s name for it to be genuine.

Wan Sulaiman today maintained that he had done none of these things.

The father or four said his only offence appeared to be his line of questioning - that there are differences in what is taught in the Quran and what is practised or encouraged by religious authorities here.

“Is that wrong? To ask? Who else would you ask if not your teacher?” he said, referring to JAIP and the Mufti’s office, which he said he had held in high esteem until they began persecuting him.

Wan Sulaiman added it was unjust that the authorities persecute those who only seek to find answers and understand his religion better.

“To me, this is not Islam”.

Wan Sulaiman’s hearing will commence on July 2. If found guilty, Wan Sulaiman may be fined no more than RM5,000, jailed not more than three years, or both.

Mansoor said that for now, his team of lawyers will wait for the trial to take place first before deciding the next course of action.

“We will see the charges first and take it from there”.