Don’t punish Zakir for his followers’ actions

Wan Ji Wan Hussin

PETALING JAYA: The public should not punish controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for the wrongdoings committed by his Facebook followers, independent Islamic preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin says.

“We cannot assume Zakir is pro-terrorist just because one terrorist happened to follow him on Facebook.”

Wan Ji, who is also PKR youth religious bureau chief, pointed out that Zakir and Islamic State (IS) militants had vastly different views on Islam and that there was no strong evidence to substantiate associating the controversial preacher with terrorism.

“Just because I’m fascinated by some of the political views of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, does not mean I’m a PAS member.”

Checks by FMT revealed Zakir had more than 14 million followers on Facebook and 263,716 followers on YouTube.

“IS is a movement more inclined towards categorising people as anti-Islamic, kafir harbi, and enemies of Islam.

“This is different from the approach Zakir takes, as he is more inclined to offering arguments and does not accuse those with different views as being enemies of Islam, anti-Islam and kafir harbi,” he explained.

Sharing the same sentiments was Amanah Vice President Mujahid Yusof Rawa who said members of the public should verify their claims first before blindly accusing Zakir of being pro-terrorist.

“A thorough investigation of what took place in Dhaka must be conducted to ascertain if the act of terror was encouraged by Zakir or if it was simply a case of the attackers being followers of Zakir.”

Mujahid also pointed out that the acts of terror perpetrated by IS militants were in sharp contrast to Zakir’s teachings as well as Islam’s true meaning of jihad.

Meanwhile, Perak Mufti Asri Zainal Abidin took to Facebook to express his disappointment with certain media linking Zakir with acts of terrorism.

“Personally, there are some things I agree with Zakir Naik about, and others that I don’t agree with, but to allege he is a preacher who encourages acts of terrorism is wrong.

“I’ve listened to many of his lectures and nothing like that exists,” he said.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman also voiced his concern that certain quarters were deliberately trying to link Zakir to the recent terror attack in Dhaka, which left 20 dead.

He argued that Zakir was a rational preacher and one who did not force his beliefs on others through the use of violence.

“I’m really worried that there are certain anti-Islam quarters who are taking advantage of the attacks in Dhaka to assassinate Zakir’s character and influence.”