Publisher of Perlis mufti's book sponsors Hinduism poem contest

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Amir Muhammad, whose company Matahari Books had published Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin's book, announced he will be sponsoring a contest for poems with a Hinduism theme.

This was after he disapproved of Mohd Asri's controversial poem, posted on Facebook yesterday, that allegedly insulted the Hindu community.

"In 2010 my company Matahari Books published a book called "Islam in Malaysia: Perceptions and Facts by DrMaza.com.

"The book is now out of print and I am actually paying the author his final royalties this month.

"He sometimes ventures into poetry but I don't like his latest poem.

"So I contacted Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan to ask if I could sponsor a poetry competition, run by them, on the theme of Hinduism," Amir said in a Facebook posting.

DrMaza.com is Mohd Asri's official webpage.

Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan on its website later announced that Amir was sponsoring a RM1,500 prize money for the contest.

It said the prize money would be equally split between the three best poems or more.

The group only had two conditions for eligible partipants - they have to be Malaysian and "not a member or support of any terrorist group or individual".

The guidelines said the poem should be about Hinduism, in a positive tone, and does not insult any race or religion.

"The poem should be suitable for the reading of people of all races and religion, to help them better understand Hinduism in a positive manner," it said.

Mohd Asri had defended the poem, stating that he was making reference to the situation in India.

His poem had, among others, touched on "cow worshippers" and the caste system and stated that there were limits to tolerance and patience.

The poem was written amid efforts by some groups to get controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is wanted by Indian authorities for money laundering offences, deported.

Hindu groups earlier today also lodged police reports against Mohd Asri over the poem.

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