Kuala Lumpur—Controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik issued an apology via his Facebook page on August 20, Wednesday, the same day that a ban on his preaching was reported on Malaysian national news agency Bernama.
After the public filed 115 reports with the police due to the Muslim preacher’s reportedly racist comments, he was temporarily banned from speaking in the country on August 15. All programmes, activities, social media talks were suspended.
On Tuesday, August 20, Police Inspector-General Abdul Hamid Bador said that the ban would be lifted when police have finished their investigations.
Dr Zakir had stirred up trouble for himself when he made a speech on August 8, claiming that Hindus in Malaysia are more loyal to Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, than they are to Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s Prime Minister. He also referred to the country’s Malaysian Chinese as its “new guests.”
According to Bernama, Inspector-General Abdul Hamid stated that the ban would help ease tensions until police could “get the facts on what actually transpired.”
The controversial preacher’s remarks have caused a clamour for him to be deported back to India, where he faces charges related to money laundering and religious extremism, including some calls from prominent leaders such as Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran.
In a four-minute video posted on Facebook, Dr Zakir said that he had never intended to cause outrage with his words.
He also emphasized that he is not a racist, but that those against him had taken his statements out of context and that they added “strange fabrications into” his remarks.
Dr Zakir said, “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 said in a statement yesterday.
As you must have noticed for the past few days, I am being accused of causing racial discord in the country and my detractors have been using selective sentences taken out of context and adding strange fabrications into them.”
He also expressed concerns over the harm being done to the image of Islam.
“It also worried 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.”
In the video Dr Zakir asked Malaysians, especially those who are not of the Muslim faith, to listen to his speeches as a whole, and not just piecemeal.
“My lectures are on YouTube, Peace TV, and the Peace TV mobile app. Last but not the least, I am deeply touched by the hundreds of thousands of people who stood in my support.
I would like to express my earnest gratitude to all of you. May Allah reward all of you with the best.” -/TISG
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