Press Release Circulated on 11 July 2016
GOPIO Malaysia urges the Malaysian Government to ban controversial televangelist and preacher Zakir Naik and his Peace TV channel.
Zakir Naik’s speeches are believed to have inspired Bangladeshi militants, who killed 22 people, including 17 foreigners, at an upscale restaurant in Dhaka on July 1. Six days later, militants attacked police guarding the largest Eid Mubarak gathering in Bangladesh and killed three more people. Following the attacks, the Bangladesh government organised an emergency meeting attended by Bangladesh’s senior ministers and top security officials and banned Zakir Naik.
Last week, the Inter Faith Council Vice President Dato Mohan Shan has also stated the sensitivity of Zakir Naik’s speeches. The Hindu Community stands with Dato Mohan Shan on this matter.
Naik is an Indian Islamic preacher who has been called as an authority on comparative religions and has been in the eye of controversies for preaching hate. The Indian authorities are closing in on Zakir Naik and he is already banned from the United Kingdom, Canada and some European countries. His Peace TV has been banned in both Bangladesh and India.
The activities of Naik’s Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation are also under the scanner of Indian Home Ministry amid allegations that funds from abroad received by it have been spent on political activities and inspiring people towards radical views.
In his speeches, Naik randomly quotes chapters and verses from Hindu, Christian and Islamic religious texts to embolden his arguments. But, a closer look at Naik’s speeches shows that the right phrase to describe his speeches isn’t ‘comparative studies’, but to enforce his idea of religious superiority and suppression of disbelievers. Naik has been doing this for years. But, his name has surfaced only now in this fashion after the Bangladesh attacks. A terrorist is born and grow deeper in one’s mind first and that’s where the likes of Zakir Naik thrive.
Zakir Naik’s speeches contain elements of extremism, capable of triggering unrest in multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia, or any country for that matter. GOPIO observes that human lives cannot be sacrificed for differences in religious ideology and that the instigation of terrorism is a crime against humanity. It is clearly against the 1Malaysia concept promoted by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak.
GOPIO urges the Prime Minister to monitor Zakir Naik’s influence in Malaysia. GOPIO will fully support Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib Razak on his efforts to create a harmonious and peaceful Malaysia.
President, GOPIO Malaysia.