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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Security for costs hearing in Bilal Philips v Zamihan suit on Jan 19



The hearing on security for costs in the RM1 million suit filed by Canadian Muslim preacher Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips against Home Ministry official Zamihan Mat Zin has been fixed on Jan 19.
Bilal Philip's lawyer Meor Amir Meor Omar Baki disclosed this after the case management at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today.
The lawyer told reporters that his client had proposed an offer on security for costs but Zamihan has yet to agree.
“Following that, Justice Ahmad Zaidee Ibrahim fixed Jan 19 for hearing. If parties have agreed on the security for costs offered, there is no need for a hearing for this purpose,” Meor Amir said.
Security for costs can be imposed if the plaintiff who filed the suit is a foreigner for the fear of not being able to pay costs should the plaintiff lose the case.
Bilal Philips, in his statement of claim, alleged that Zamihan’s Facebook post from November last year displayed a picture of him, accompanied by a description calling him a supporter of international terrorism.
The posting was made ahead of a religious event held in Perlis, at which the Canadian preacher was a speaker.
The Jamaican-born preacher complained that the words describing him as a supporter of terrorism are false, defamatory and made without basis, given that he strives to promote peace and understanding of Islam, and rejects terrorism carried out in the name of religion.
Bilal Philips who converted to Islam in the 1970s argued that Zamihan’s allegation means that he is actively engaged in terrorism and violence, and that his lecturers are geared towards those ends, where else he had written over 50 books on Islam and has been involved in various Islamic TV programmes such as “Peace TV”, “Huda TV”, and "The Deen Show, Chicago".
Bilal Philips who has a Bachelor’s degree from Madinah, a Master’s from Riyadh and a PhD from the University of Wales, was also dubbed as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world this year.
He is seeking general damages in excess of RM1 million, to be assessed by the court, as well as aggravated and exemplary damages.
Syria Care may file committal proceeding
Zamihan, in his defence filed on Oct 19, denied knowledge of the posting but claimed that the statement was not defamatory as the description of Bilal Philips was accurate.
He added that the statement on Bilal Philips' involvement in the terrorist-linked activity is based on news reports that appeared in Canadian news organisation National Post and The Guardian in the UK, as well as information from the police.
Zamihan further claimed that Bilal Philips was barred from entering several countries, including the UK, Denmark, and Kenya.
On another matter, Meor Amir, who is also a lawyer for Syria Care which won a defamation suit against Zamihan at the Shah Alam High Court and upheld by the Court of Appeal earlier this month, said the NGO is considering to file a committal proceeding against the preacher.
“This is because Zamihan has yet to file an apology to Syria Care in The Star Online within seven days of the judgment as ordered by the High Court,” he said, adding that The Star Online had already apologised.
Zamihan was ordered to pay RM50,000 after being found to have defamed the NGO in a report published by The Star Online in a 2014 article titled “Senseless violence jihad puts Malaysia as hub, says Home Ministry officer”, which quoted Zamihan linking the NGO to syiah groups in Malaysia that must be monitored by the government.
The defamatory article which was published on June 27, 2014, has been withdrawn by the news portal.- Mkini

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