KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi has urged, in the wake of “terrorist” bombings in Bangladesh, that the Malaysian Government admit its mistake in handling the Zakir Naik “controversy”. The human rights NGO further called on the government to permanently ban the errant preacher from entering the country and outlaw his teachings as well.
Elsewhere, added Hindraf Chief P. Waythamoorthy in a statement, the Terengganu Government should immediately revoke its grant of an island to Zakir Naik.
He was commenting on a report that both Bangladesh and India were investigating the controversial preacher for allegedly promoting terrorism. “This is proof that Hindraf has been right in urging the government to ban his entry into the country and lectures.”
“We have issued numerous statements on the threat to national security posed by his preaching.”
Waytha noted that suspected Islamic State (IS) terrorists involved in bombing the Artisan Hotel Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Rohan Imtiaz and Nibran Islam, confessed that they were “inspired” by Zakir Naik. “They have been his ‘staunch’ followers on Facebook and on the Peace Television Channel.”
Other terror suspects too have pointed to him as an inspiration, recalled Waytha.
He cited Najibulla Zazi, arrested in 2009 for conspiring to bomb the New York subway; Kafeel Ahmed who stormed Glasgow Airport in an explosives-laden car in 2007; and Rahil Sheikh who was arrested in Mumbai for the 7/11 serial train blasts. “All of them claimed they followed Zakir Naik,” lamented Waytha.
Hindraf had earlier issued cautionary statements, he stressed. “We have long argued against Zakir Naik’s presence in the country.”
The Hindraf Chief said there were long term repercussions arising from Zakir Naik’s hate speeches directed at other religions. “His supremacist ideology may cause unrest.”
However, he reminded, the top government leaders in the country were then “doing their political posturing.”
“They were more interested in dominating and intimidating other races in Malaysia under the guise of defending Islam.”
Many other Malay and Muslim leaders too had chosen to use religion to amplify differences, to reinforce extreme views and condemn non-Muslims as a threat to their rights, continued Waytha. “Zakir Naik was even offered an island to start a school. He promised to train at least six Malaysians to spread his ideology in Malaysia.”
To make matters worse, he pointed out, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister hosted him at breakfast and dinner. “Hindraf meanwhile was criticized by the Mufti of Perlis and Perkasa and accused of interfering in Islamic matters.”
“They even threatened us with legal action.”
Hindraf said it was not surprised that Zakir Naik’s teachings were found by many religious alim and ulama and maulana in Bangladesh as not in line with the Quranic version and Hadiths. “They found that he fanned terrorism but yet he was welcomed by top leaders and Muftis in Malaysia.”
The recent attack in Puchong, appears to be the work of home-grown terrorists, warned the Hindraf Chief.
These individuals often plan, prepare, and carry out their plots or undertake other activities without the central guidance or assistance of formal terrorist organizations, he noted.
He believes that they have been mostly radicalized by the ideologically-bent propaganda of certain preachers. “They interact with fellow activists or like-minded aspirants, and adopt more conservative variants of Islam for politicization of their religious belief.”