KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — Social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi questioned how long vagrants should be made to suffer for the sake of following “protocol”, after being criticised for his public plea with Masjid Negara to shelter the homeless.
Syed Azmi uploaded on his Facebook page yesterday an image of a text message from someone he said was one of his closest friends, who had told him not to commit ‘fitnah’ (slander) and to meet the national mosque’s management instead of complaining on Facebook.
“I pray no one will ever go hungry at night because if they are, hold on, let me write a proper letter first to the authority because that is the right way,” Syed Azmi wrote.
“You makanlah, bila dapat surat ok? Don’t let that be the way. It is somebody’s child we are talking about here. What would I know? Just a dogboy that cannot question religious authority,” he added, using the Malay word “makan” for “eat”.
Syed Azmi’s friend who reproached him was quoted saying in Malay: “We must protect the honour of our religion and not give space or opportunities for our enemies waiting in ambush to act.”
The self-described “dogboy” responded on Facebook, saying: “This is what I find. That we cannot say anything bad of the masjid. Must follow protocol. Office hours and all. Ok I accept. Next question from me, For how long? For how long suffering can prevail?”
In a December 30 Facebook post that drew over 7,000 “likes”, Syed Azmi urged Masjid Negara to open up a space in its compound to shelter the homeless of all races at night.
“They say it will be dirty, I know they have cleaners. If they are dirty, help them clean up.
They say they might steal, but Masjid do appoint guards,” he wrote.
“I do know our friendlier house of worship do accept the ones that is in need. No question asked. I heard there is even a laundry service provided. I heard ladies with children can get shelter, work and still take care of their little ones with some earnings. I envy them for being able to do so. Its on the basis of humanity,” he added.
When contacted, Syed Azmi declined to reveal which house of worship he was talking about that provided shelter to those in need.
He also said Masjid Negara has yet to set a date to meet him after the management of the national mosque, which is located in the city centre, said on December 30 that they would meet him to discuss efforts to help the homeless.
“Will let you know,” Syed Azmi told Malay Mail Online today.