KUALA LUMPUR: Fresh from his controversial speeches in the east coast and despite growing calls for his deportation, embattled preacher Dr Zakir Naik and his family are set to feature in events spanning three days in Perlis this week, with special sessions for male and female participants.
Naik, his wife Farhat, and their children Fariq, Rushda and Zikra will feature in a series of sessions designed for Muslim converts, with government agencies as well as state broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) listed as co-partners.
The sessions, which begin tomorrow, are part of what is called “Malaysia Reverts Camp” organised by Perlis-based Islamic propagation group One Centre Malaysia and the Perlis Malay Customs and Islamic Religious Council.
“Revert” is a term used by some Muslim missionaries who believe that non-Muslims who embrace Islam are returning to the religion of their birth.
The camp will be held at the scenic Al Hussain Mosque, also known as the “Floating Mosque”.
The list of key speakers at the event includes Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who has openly defended Naik, and Islamic motivation speakers Zamri Vinoth and Ridhuan Tee Abdullah.
Among the topics listed are “Da’wah or Destruction”, “Religion in the Right Perspective”, “Flee to Allah”, “Who Are Your True Friends”, “Purpose of Life” and “Women’s Movement for Creating Noble Generations”.
There will also be question-and-answer sessions.
Organisers have touted the event as the largest congregation of Muslim converts in Malaysia.
“Insha Allah, this programme will get recognition from the Malaysia Book of Records,” organisers said last month.
Calls for Naik to be sent back to India grew following a recent series of lectures he gave in Kelantan, one of which touched on the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He claimed that Malaysian Hindus are more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Mahathir despite receiving “100 times” more rights than Muslims in India.
He later accused his critics of quoting him out of context.
A subsequent media report quoted him as snubbing calls for him to leave the country and saying that most Chinese in Malaysia were not born here.
This sparked a response from many, including members of the opposition, ministers and Mahathir’s daughter Marina Mahathir.
Naik, who has permanent resident status, is wanted by authorities in India in relation to money laundering investigations.
However, Mahathir has questioned the likelihood of the preacher receiving a fair trial if he is sent back to his home country.