PHOTO: Fathil Asri.
PUTRAJAYA – Renowned Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik has hit back at allegations that he was creating religious disharmony among Malaysians, by alleging that his detractors were wrongly quoting him out of context with a view to politicise and malign him.
Dr. Zakir also added that he had actually praised Malaysia for its genuinely Islamic way of treating Hindu minorities and in upholding their rights, something that the Indian government had failed to do with its minorities.
Dr Zakir was responding to questions following a series of three lectures spanning over three days, organised by the Kelantan State Government.
Dr Naik spoke extensively on the topics of ‘Qur’aan – The Path to Happiness’, ‘Misconceptions about Islam’ and ‘Islamophobia’.
The third event was held at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu city of Malaysia and saw a record attendance of 100,000 men, women and children from across the state.
It received a massive response from the people who stayed back till the early hours of the morning.
In an humbling moment on 9th August, Dr Zakir was also conferred the Daa’ee Ummah award, the highest religious award of Kelantan by Ustaz Dato Ahmad Yakob, the Chief Minister of Kelantan.
Said Dr Zakir, “The allegations reported in the media are mischievous and designed to not only politicize me but also create religious disharmony within the community. Recordings of my talks will reveal that the reality is the opposite of what is being alleged.”
After my lecture on Misconceptions about Islam, I was asked a specific question from the audience on the ongoing Kashmir issue and the plight of Muslims in India.
In my reply I actually praised Malaysia and its government for the way it has been treating its Hindu minorities and for giving them their due rights, something that the Indian government has failed to do with Muslim minorities in India.
On the charges against me by the Modi government, my stance was very categorical.
I found it unfair that a certain group of Hindus in Malaysia seemed to trust the Modi government more than the Interpol, or the Indian courts, or the Malaysian government itself.
My praise of the Malaysian government for its Islamic and fair treatment of Hindu minorities is being twisted and misquoted to suit political gains and create communal rifts.
According to Dr Naik, the event’s scale and success did not go down well with the groups that do not like him.
The event audience that constituted mainly Muslim men and women as well as media persons did not find anything wrong in all the eight hours of my three lectures and Question and Answer Sessions.”
However, it took more than three days for my detractors to create an issue out of nothing.
Any attempts to create a communal rift is unfair towards the people of Malaysia and I’m sure, In Sha Allah, that these attempts will fail,” added Dr. Zakir.
Dr Zakir explains his stance in detail in a statement below –
After my speech on 9th August at Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu, there were very positive reports in the media for the next two days.
“The media also mentioned that I had supported Tun Mahathir.
This could not be digested by a certain clique of politically-motivated hate-mongers within the country.
It seems that these people scanned my lectures in a desperate attempt to pick out something blameworthy and vilify me.
Having found nothing they could use against me, they resorted to dishonest schemes.
Since yesterday, the 12th of August, there has been a campaign in the media against me.
The allegations are based on out-of-context statements, deliberate misquotations and even complete fabrications intended to malign me for political agendas.
They alleged, “Naik recently compared the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India and said that the former enjoyed more than 100% rights in Malaysia compared to Muslims in India.
“He further said that it was unfortunate that Hindus in Malaysia, despite the benefits, are more loyal to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Tun Dr Mahathir.”
Then they went on to say that I am creating racial and religious disharmony and communal hatred.
Firstly, I never said the above in my speech.
There was a question posed to me after my second talk in Kelantan on 8th August regarding the Indian government deleting Article 370 from its constitution and its atrocities in Kashmir.
The questioner also asked how the Malaysians and brothers in Islam should react.
My reply lasted more than 24 minutes and towards the end I said, “What’s happening in India?
In India we Muslims are a minority, according to the government 14.5%, Muslims say we are about 20–25%, but even if we agree 14.5%, here the non-Muslims—the Hindus—are 6.3% to 6.4%. The Hindus in Malaysia get 100 times more rights than the Muslims in India.
Good Alhamdulillah, I am not saying take away their rights. Good, this is what Muslims should do.
They are half the percentage, numbers-wise very less, half the percentage of India where Muslims are, yet the rights they get here is hundred times more than what India gives rights to minorities.
So much so that they support the Prime Minister of India but not the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Masha Allah.
The PM of India wants me, the PM of Malaysia does not want injustice to be done to me.
The Hindu Malaysians, most of them support the PM of India. There is no evidence against me in the Malaysian police. Interpol says no evidence, they are believing more in India, they are more Indian than the Indians themselves. And yet they are enjoying Alhamdulillah. At least the Muslims should get their rights.”
I did not say Hindus in Malaysia get 100% more rights than Muslims in India but I said, “Hindus in Malaysia get 100 times more rights than Muslims in India,” which is 10,000% and not 100%.
I did not stop there but went further to say, “Good Alhamdulillah, I am not saying take away their rights. GOOD, THIS IS WHAT MUSLIMS SHOULD DO.”
I applauded the Malaysian government as well as the Muslims in Malaysia and asked them to continue to treat the Hindu minorities justly, as instructed in Islam.
I never said that Muslims in Malaysia should retaliate against the Hindus in Malaysia because of how Muslims in India are being persecuted.
They are being forced to say “Jai Sri Ram”, and if they do not say it many are being lynched in public.
Many Muslims are being killed for allegations of eating beef, etc. More than 36 Muslims were lynched and killed in public in the last two years, etc.
Yet, as I reiterated, none of this justifies the mistreatment of another people elsewhere in the world.
In fact, I said Malaysia should continue to follow Islamic teachings and be good and just to the Hindu minority.
I have also said many times in my speeches and Q&A sessions that Muslims should always be good to non-Muslims even if they ill-treat us.
Nor can goodness and Evil be equal.
Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will the one whom between you and him was hatred become as though he was a devoted friend.” (Al Qur’aan 41:34)
Secondly I never made a general statement as claimed by them that, “It was unfortunate that Hindus in Malaysia, despite the benefits, are more loyal to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Tun Dr Mahathir.”
What I said was in context of my own case—that some Hindu groups opted to support the Modi government in its extradition request despite there being no evidence against me, and despite the fact that the Interpol, the Indian court and Malaysian government have rejected the false accusations directed at me.
It should be blindingly obvious to anybody who looks at the situation with a fair mind, that I am being deliberately misrepresented.
These politically-motivated people misquoted me with the intention of getting me arrested. But no just court of law, including the Malaysian court, will ever agree with their accusations.
Rather, it is these people who should be taken to task for creating racial disharmony and hatred between two religious communities in the multicultural nation of Malaysia.”