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Perkasa offended by planned protest against Naik, Asri

 | May 15, 2017

The Penang wing of the Malay rights group lodges police reports against Vell Paari and organisers of the protest for allegedly insulting Islam.


BUKIT MERTAJAM: Penang Perkasa has claimed that a protest planned against fugitive Indian preacher Zakir Naik and Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin, along with insults hurled against them, constitute insults to Islam.

Its president, Mohd Nasir Othman, said the protest against the duo, scheduled this Sunday, had caused “unease” among Muslims in the country.

He said the event, planned to be held at a Hindu temple on Jalan Telaga Air in Butterworth, was also insulting.

“A banner on the event has defamed Asri and Naik. I worry that this kind of protest against them could lead to religious tension.”

Nasir spoke to reporters after lodging reports at the Central Seberang Perai police headquarters today against the planned protest and against MIC’s S Vell Paari.

He said the call by Vell Paari for Naik, who is wanted for investigations related to money-laundering and terrorism links in India, to be arrested and deported by Malaysia had caused disharmony among the country’s multiracial society.

Naik has been granted permanent residence (PR) by the Malaysian government.

On April 21, Asri posted a poem on Facebook which derided “cow-worshippers”, triggering anger among Malaysian Hindus. However, he later claimed it was directed at Indian prime minister Narendra Modi for his administration’s alleged poor treatment of Muslims in India.

Indian rights group Hindraf later also criticised Asri over two old videos showing him giving talks in which he allegedly denigrated the Hindu faith.

Nasir however said Vell Paari had unfairly linked Naik to the Islamic State (IS) terrorist movement’s ideology and depicted his supporters as terrorist “sympathisers”.

“We are also very offended when Vell Paari asked the police to investigate Ibrahim Ali, our national president, for links with Naik.

“He (Vell Paari) is actually challenging Islam and creating disharmony in the country,” Nasir said.

He said it was regrettable that minority races in the country chose to create unease by having protests against Muslim leaders, saying it was sowing further discord.

Earlier, Nasir and 20 others protested briefly outside the police headquarters, before lodging the police reports against Vell Paari and the organisers of Sunday’s protest.

Meanwhile, Vell Paari denied defaming Naik, saying his comments about the preacher were based on reports marking him as a fugitive.

“I did not at any time make any defamatory or derogatory remarks about Islam as a religion.

“I believe in the sanctity of our constitutional right to worship and follow any religion of choice,” he said in a statement.

Vell Paari also said he had merely suggested that police investigate Ibrahim, since he was close to Naik.

He said he had suggested an investigation be carried out on Perkasa’s involvement with Naik, especially with regard to Naik’s alleged recruiting of members for IS in Malaysia.

“I challenge Mr Ibrahim Ali and his organisation to take me to court if he views any of my statements as defamatory. I also challenge Zakir Naik to do the same.

“May I also suggest that you, Ibrahim, keep your ‘spin doctor’ tactics to yourself, especially on an issue involving a fugitive, namely Zakir Naik.”

He said Ibrahim’s culture of “taking to the streets to threaten ordinary citizens like me” should be taken seriously by the authorities.

“Veiled threats against me and my family must be met with the consequences of punishment by law.”

On April 16, Perkasa awarded Naik its warrior award for his contributions towards the struggle of Islam.

Naik is also a recipient of the “Tokoh Maal Hijrah”, awarded to him by the government in 2013.

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