Let Zakir Naik talk, but with conditions, says Penang mufti

Penang Mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor today said Indian Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik should be given an opportunity to give ceramahs in the state.

However, Naik must follow certain set guidelines so as to not cause “problems” affecting the harmony of Muslims and Malaysians at large.

He said Naik, a well-known preacher and personality, should apply for his teaching credentials (tauliah) to fulfil state Islamic laws and requirements. This usually takes only a short time to approve, he added.

Yesterday, Penang Islamic authorities stated that Naik had yet to obtain his “tauliah” and as such cannot speak in public on Islamic matters.

This followed plans by a group to bring Naik to speak in George Town in June.

Wan Salim said the local Islamic authorities were obliged to follow the laws set as they were responsible for ensuring all religious activities do not cause tensions among Muslim groups or Malaysians of different races.

“So, every person who plans to talk on matters related to Islam has to apply for the ‘tauliah’ before the programme can be held.

“The Islamic authorities can bar any individual from teaching or delivering a religious talk if it is found to have the potential of causing a situation that could be difficult to resolve later on.

“However, it is my opinion that for a well-known preacher such as Naik, he should be given a chance to give talks with a set of guidelines given to him to follow so as not to cause problems,” he told FMT when contacted.

Wan Salim said any decision to let Naik talk is up to the authorities, as they might have their own reasons for allowing or barring a person from speaking.

“Anyway, peace and national interests should prevail in all decisions made. We believe all problems can be resolved through sincere negotiations between the parties involved.”