Dhaka attack: Interfaith group says Zakir a bad influence

RS-Mohan-Shan

KUALA LUMPUR: Investigations against Dr Zakir Naik in the Dhaka attack by Bangladesh and India show that he has influenced terrorists with his messages, an interfaith group said.

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) Deputy President RS Mohan Shan was quoted by the Malay Mail Online as saying wherever he went, Zakir was feeding young people with ideas that could lead to terrorism.

He urged Putrajaya to rescind Zakir’s Maal Hijrah award and ban him from speaking in Malaysia again.

“The Government said they want to give importance to Islam, we do not deny that. But we have other scholars and preachers who can come and give [good] thoughts on Islam, not the reverse where they disturb the harmony of the country,” he was quoted as saying.

Last Friday, terrorists attacked and killed 22 people at a café in Dhaka. Two of the attackers had studied in Malaysia.

Bangladesh’s English-language newspaper The Daily Star reported Monday that one of the Dhaka attackers, Rohan Imtiaz, had posted on Facebook last year quoting Zakir as “urging all Muslims to be terrorists”.

Indian newspapers quoted police officials as saying that several other terrorism suspects had also said they had been influenced by Zakir’s speeches.

Zakir had created an uproar among non-Muslims when he came here to conduct a lecture series in April. They wanted him to be barred from speaking here as they said he often demeaned other religions and could cause harm to Malaysia’s multi-religious harmony.

However, some government and PAS leaders, and some Islamic clerics, had defended him, with Terengganu Mentri Besar Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman reportedly saying three islands in Tasik Kenyir would be gifted to Zakir.

The Malay Mail Online report said Malaysian Indian Progressive Association Secretary-General S Bharathidasan echoed the MCCBHST stand.

He was quoted as saying: “Remember Terengganu wanted to give him some island? That should not be given and it should be cancelled. There is no place to recognise Zakir Naik in this country.”

The report quoted Co-President of the Centre for a Better Tomorrow Gan Ping Sieu, however, as saying it was not fair to judge the preacher simply because terrorists had followed him on social media.

Yesterday, Deputy Minister for Islamic Affairs Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki had said it was premature to conclude that Zakir encouraged terrorism as the claim that he had urged all Muslims to be terrorists should first be verified.