Zakir apologises for causing hurt, says it was never his intention (Updated)

20 Aug 2019 / 11:16 H.

PETALING JAYA: Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik (pix) has apologised to all Malaysians who may have been hurt by his speeches in recent weeks.

The controversial televangelist said it saddened him that the recent episode has caused many non-Muslims in the country to regard him as a racist, maintaining that he has always been a man of peace.

“This is what the Qur’an stands for. It has been my mission to spread peace throughout the world,” he said in a statement today.

“Even though I have clarified myself, I feel I owe an apology to everyone who feels hurt because of this misunderstanding. I do not want any of you to harbour ill feelings towards me.

“It was never my intention to upset any individual or community. It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding,” he added.

Zakir’s apology comes amidst growing calls for him to be deported from the country following his lectures earlier this month in Kelantan undermining the non-Muslims.

Among other things, he had claimed that the Malaysian Chinese were merely “old guests” in the country and that the Hindus here were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as opposed to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

His statement yesterday was issued after he was questioned for more than 10 hours by Bukit Aman police on Monday over the comments he made.

He was seen leaving the police headquarters at 1am this morning.

Zakir said it was unfortunate that he was being accused of causing racial discord in the country, noting that his detractors have been using selective sentences that were taken out of context and adding strange fabrications into them.

“It worries me because the ones who are hurt have not heard my speeches but based their impressions on out-of-context quotes of me.

“That is a cause of concern for me because it brings harm to the image of Islam and serves to drive people away from it. Racism is an evil I am staunchly against, as is the Quran, and it is the exact opposite of everything I stand for as an Islamic preacher,” he said.

“I would like to make a humble appeal to all of you, especially to the non-Muslims. Please take out time to listen to my speeches in their entirety,” he said.

Following his lectures in Kelantan, over 100 police reports have been lodged against Zakir, with the police investigating his case under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of peace.

Mahathir, who had previously defended Zakir from calls to extradite him, has also claimed the Malaysian permanent resident had crossed the line when he touched on racial politics and stirred racial tension.

Zakir, who is facing money laundering charges in India, has said he would not return to his home country unless he could be guaranteed a fair trial and that his safety was not compromised.

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