PETALING JAYA: Dr Zakir Naik (pix) has hit back at critics accusing him of creating religious disharmony among Malaysian, alleging that his detractors had quoted him out of context to politicise and malign him, and get him arrested.
The controversial preacher said his comments during a series of lecture in Kelantan recently was wrongly twisted, explaining instead that he had actually praised Malaysia for its Islamic way of treating Hindu minorities and in upholding their rights, unlike how the Indian government had treated its minorities.
“The allegations reported in the media are mischievous and designed to not only politicise 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,” he said in a statement yesterday.
“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 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,” he added.
Among others, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran had called for action to be taken against Zakir for questioning the loyalty of the Malaysian Indian community who have made great sacrifices and contribution to the country.
Zakir pointed out that the Muslim-majority audience who attended his talk in Kota Baru did not find anything wrong with his speeches in all of the eight hours of his lectures that spanned over three days.
“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, Inshaallah, that these attempts will fail,” he said.
It was reported that during his speech in Kota Baru recently, Zakir had compared the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India, by claiming that the Hindus here enjoyed more than 100 times the rights than Muslims in India.
He also alleged that the Hindus here were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as opposed to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
To this, Zakir explained that he was merely referring his statement to his own case and that it was only meant for certain groups, and not the whole Hindu community in general.
“What I said was in the 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,” he said.
Sharing his point of view from Georgetown, former PKR deputy secretary-general S. Raventharan said that generally, Malaysian Indians, like many of their brethren all over the world, tend to bicker about the state of affairs in the community and country.
“But we debate and argue out of love for Malaysia and Mahathir, not out of spite. And we have never pledged loyalty to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who even lost in the Tamil Nadu state (India) in the last general election.” His was noting that most Malaysian Indians originate from the Tamil Nadu state.
“Malaysian Indians know no other home other than Malaysia and many have sacrifices and shed blood to affirm their loyalty and patriotism to both the country and its leaders despite the political and economical turmoil,” he stressed.
“Furthermore Modi speaks a foreign tongue to the Tamilians, who mostly understand English, Malay and Tamil, and not Hindi,” Raventharan said in an interview.
However, the former PKR man felt that Zakir should still apologise and consider relocating to a country where his sort of controversial and offensive narratives can be accepted.
“What he said about Malaysian Indians and their loyalty has caused a rift among Malaysians and he has to take the blame and be noble about it rather than conveniently point fingers to the media whenever he fans controversies,” Raventharan commented.