Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Muslim preacher Zakir Naik clarifies that he does not promote terror

Last updated on 7th July 2016

The article, Did Not Promote terror, I Welcome Any Probe: Preacher Zakir Naik, http://www.news18.com/news/india/did-not-promote-terror-i-welcome-any-probe-preacher-zakir-naik-1266576.html, dated July 6th 2016, quotes Zakir Naik from a telephone interview as follows:

It is totally illogical to say that I promote terrorism. Not a single investigative agency says Dr Zakir Naik promotes terrorism. The Home Ministry is most welcome to go through all my speeches.
...
I inspire many people because I have a large following. These people might have been inspired by me but I don’t know them personally. I fear media and politicians because they might malign my image. There are people who are using my photographs and misquoting me to defame me. I welcome any investigation against me.
...
I always preach no Muslim should terrorise anybody...Anyone who kills people, whether he is Muslim or non-Muslim, will go to hell.
--- end quotes of Dr. Zakir Naik from news18.com article ---

The article, Amid Dhaka row, Zakir Naik calls IS ‘un-Islamic’, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/amid-dhaka-row-zakir-naik-calls-is-un-islamic-2896422/, dated July 6th 2016, quotes Dr. Zakir Naik from a phone interview.

It quotes Dr. Zakir Naik as saying, "By using the name Islamic State, we are condemning Islam… They are the anti-Islamic state of Iraq and Syria that has killed innocent foreigners. The name is given by enemies of Islam."

It states that he is not shocked that the Dhaka attackers knew him because he has millions of followers but that does mean that he endorses their methods (of killing innocents).

A small extract from the above article:
“Such a person would be a hardcore fan of Prophet Muhammad. Does that mean Prophet Muhammad told him to kill people?” Naik asked, adding that the Quran explicitly states that when a person kills another, of any religion, “it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity”.
--- end extract ---

Ravi: I find the above clarifications given by Dr. Zakir Naik, as reported in the above articles from a prominent national TV news channel of India and a prominent national newspaper of India, to be quite satisfactory in that he does not endorse the Dhaka terrorist attack and that he claims that he does not promote terror killings/attacks on any person of any religion. His welcoming a probe by the Home ministry is also a good sign.

However, if security agencies (both Indian and Bangladeshi security agencies are reported to be studying his speeches) find speeches of his which are viewed as inciting terror, then he must respond to them and clarify the matter.

I felt it appropriate to include a small extract from the wikipedia page of a beloved spiritual master of mine, Sri Shirdi Sai Baba, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sai_Baba_of_Shirdi:

One of his well known epigrams, "Sabka Malik Ek" ("One God governs all"), is associated with Hinduism, Islam and Sufism. He also said, "Trust in me and your prayer shall be answered". He always uttered "Allah Malik" ("God is King").
--- end wiki extract ---

Ravi: I would translate "Allah Maalik" as God is the owner/boss/master.
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Readers may want to read my related blog post, Fathers of Bangladeshi terrorist killers seek pardon from victims' families; Vital need for moderate & tolerant preachers of Islam, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/fathers-of-bangladeshi-terrorist.html, dated July 6th 2016
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Update on 7th July 2016

Here's a report from a leading Indian national media outlet, The Times of India, NIA will speak to Zakir Naik on his return, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/NIA-will-speak-to-Zakir-Naik-on-his-return/articleshow/53089756.cms, dated July 7th 2016.

It quotes a Bangladeshi minister as saying, "For a few months, many religious alims and ulemas and maulanas have lodged a complaint with my ministry that Dr Zakir Naik's interpretation of Islam is not in line with the Quranic version and Hadees. So we are looking into the content.".. "The interpretation in a wrong way of Islam influences young people and...fans terrorism. That is why Dr Zakir Naik's angle is to be looked into."

India's Union (federal) minister of state (junior minister; senior minister is Shri Rajnath Singh) for Home (handles internal Indian security), Shri Kiren Rijiju, is quoted as saying, "Zakir Naik's speech is a matter of concern for us. Our agencies are working on this.But as a minister, I will not comment what action will be taken".

The article, Zakir Naik may condemn Islamic State, but he's still a security concern, http://www.firstpost.com/india/zakir-naik-may-condemn-islamic-state-but-hes-still-a-security-risk-2878410.html, dated July 7th 2016, gives one rather frank view of Zakir Naik.

Some extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zakir_Naik, along with some comments of mine:

Zakir Naik (born 18 October 1965 in Mumbai, India) is an Indian Islamic preacher, who has been called an "authority on comparative religion", "perhaps the most influential Salafi ideologue in India", and "the world's leading Salafi evangelist". He is the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), and founder of the "comparative religion" Peace TV channel, through which he reaches a reported 100 million viewers. Unlike many Islamic preachers, his lectures are colloquial, given in English, not Urdu or Arabic, and he wears a suit and tie rather than traditional garb.
...
Zakir Naik was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. He attended Kishinchand Chellaram College and studied medicine at Topiwala National Medical College & BYL Nair Charitable Hospital and later the University of Mumbai, where he obtained a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS). [Ravi: BTW my elder sister also did her MBBS from the same medical hospital & college, and I have visited it when she was studying there. My father passed away in that hospital (in 1978). I am mentioning it to show that there would be quite a lot in common as far as milieu is concerned for Zakir Naik and me as we both were born and bred in Bombay/Mumbai. Honestly, when I see him talk I can relate to the guy as a (former) fellow Bombayite/Mumbaikar! However, I am not comfortable with some of things he says, especially when he tries to portray Islam as superior to all other religions. end-Ravi]

In 1991 he started working in the field of Dawah, and founded the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). Naik said in 2006, that he was inspired by Ahmed Deedat, an Islamic preacher, having met him in 1987. (Naik is sometimes referred to as "Deedat plus", a label given to him by Deedat himself.)
...
Naik has held many debates and lectures around the world. Anthropologist Thomas Blom Hansen has written that Naik's style of memorising the Quran and Hadith literature in various languages, and his related missionary activity, has made him extremely popular in Muslim circles. Many of his debates are recorded and widely distributed in video and DVD media and online. His talks have been recorded in English and broadcast on weekends on several cable networks in Mumbai's Muslim neighbourhoods, and on the Peace TV channel, which he co-produces. Topics he speaks on include: "Islam and Modern Science", "Islam and Christianity", and "Islam and secularism". The Indian government banned the Peace TV channel in 2012. According to the New York Times quoting an anonymous Indian journalist, the Mumbai police have barred him from holding conferences in recent years "because he stirs controversy", and Indian satellite providers have refused to broadcast his television channel, Peace TV.
...
Naik was denied entry into the United Kingdom and Canada in June 2010. He was banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Theresa May after arranging to give talks in London and Sheffield. May said of the exclusion order, "Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour". Naik argued that the Home Secretary was making a political decision, not a legal one, and his lawyer said the decision was "barbaric and inhuman". He also claimed that his comments were taken out of context. Film producer Mahesh Bhatt supported Naik, saying the ban constituted an attack on freedom of speech. It was reported that Naik would attempt to challenge the ruling in the High Court. His application for judicial review was dismissed on 5 November 2010. Naik was forbidden to enter Canada after Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, warned MPs of Naik's views.
...
While he appreciates that people of other religions allow Muslims to freely propagate Islam in their country, Naik preaches that the dissemination of other religions within an Islamic state must be forbidden because (he believes) other faiths are incorrect, so their propagation is as wrong as it would be for an arithmetic teacher to teach that 2+2=3 or 6 instead of 2+2=4. Likewise, Naik argues, "regarding building of churches or temples, how can we allow this when their religion is wrong and when their worshiping is wrong?" [Ravi: I strongly disagree with Zakir Naik on this fanatic view that only his religion (and his interpretation of it, I guess) is right and other religions are wrong. But I would not say that holding such a view makes him as somebody who incites terror. These words of his may incite disharmony in a multi-faith (including no faith) populace but not terror. end-Ravi]
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He has also attracted much publicity for declaring that "even a fool will know" that the 9/11 attacks were "an inside job" orchestrated by US President George W. Bush. [Ravi: I strongly disagree with this view of Zakir Naik as he is encouraging a wild conspiracy theory and, given the role that he has as a preacher of religion, he is stoking totally unacceptable controversy by making such statements (if he did make these statements as reported by Wikipedia). end-Ravi]
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[From Criticism section of the Wiki page]
The [Ravi: Times of India] article quotes Muslim scholar Wahiduddin Khan: "Dawah, which Naik also claims to be engaged in, is to make people aware of the creation plan of God, not to peddle some provocative, dubious ideas as Naik does." He adds: "The wave of Islamophobia in the aftermath of 9/11 and the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan have only added to the Muslims' sense of injury. In such a situation, when a debater like Zakir Naik, in eloquent English, takes on preachers of other faiths and defeats them during debates, the Muslims' chests puff with pride. A community nursing a huge sense of betrayal and injustice naturally lionises anyone who gives it a sense of pride. Never mind if it's false pride."

Indian journalist Khushwant Singh says he "disagree[s] with almost everything [Naik] has to say about misconceptions about Islam". Singh argues that Naik's pronouncements are "juvenile", and said "they seldom rise above the level of undergraduate college debates, where contestants vie with each other to score brownie points." Singh also says Naik's audiences "listen to him with rapt attention and often explode in enthusiastic applause when he rubbishes other religious texts".

Torkel Brekke, a professor of religious history in Norway, calls Naik a "very controversial figure" because of his rhetorical attack on other religions and other varieties of Islam. He writes that Naik is "strongly disliked" by many members of the Indian ulema for ignoring their authority and stating that anybody can interpret the Quran. Conservative Deobandi mullahs have accused Naik of "destroying Islam" by driving Muslims away from the correct religious authorities.
--- end wiki extracts ---

[I thank news18.com, indianexpress.com, indiatimes.com and Wikipedia, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts (short extracts from news18.com, indianexpress.com & indiatimes.com) from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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