PETALING JAYA: Embattled Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik has fought back allegations of causing racial disharmony, following reports quoting him as telling the Chinese community to leave Malaysia.
Naik, who has been widely condemned over comments suggesting that Malaysian Indians were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said his comments on the Chinese were meant as a “retort” to an “influential Chinese politician” who agreed with those who called him a “guest” in Malaysia.
“In my reply to him and to everyone who backed his statement I had said, ‘If you want the new guests to go, first ask the old guests to go back.’
“This was a retort to his fallacious argument that as a guest I must leave the country. I never suggested that the Chinese should leave; rather, I only pointed out the flaw in his argument by reminding him that he was as much a ‘guest’ as I am,” Naik said.
Naik was referring to the call by DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang, urging the authorities to take action against him (Naik) for remarks allegedly insulting to Malaysian Hindus.
Naik repeated his claim of a “vilification campaign” against him following his recent lectures in Kelantan at the invitation of the PAS-led state government.
“Out of my eight hours of talk, this time my haters have taken another point out of context to malign me.
“Although the audience at the event did not find anything racial or communal in my speeches, the media is being fed with stories of hatred and bigotry under false pretenses,” he said.
Naik said there was nothing wrong with his use of the word “guests” when referring to the ethnic Chinese community.
“How can my reply to Chinese supporting demands of my deportation make me communal to them?
“I am a man whose mission is to spread peace and truth. But a few hate-mongers, many with political agendas, want to disrupt my mission, and are attempting to do so by misquoting me and fabricating information against me,” he added.
Saying he was often misquoted, Naik pleaded with Malaysians to listen to his complete lectures “rather than listening to a small clip”.
“If the non-Muslims in Malaysia listen to some of my complete lectures, if not all, I’m sure they too will appreciate my work and support my mission,” said Naik.