Perlis police gag Naik as preacher skips state-backed gathering

Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

KANGAR: Pressure is growing on Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik ahead of a three-day programme that was to have featured him and his family members as the star speakers.

This comes as Perlis police chief Noor Mushar Mohd today warned Naik, who has been battling allegations of disrupting racial harmony through a series of comments in Kelantan, against giving any speech in the state.

Mushar also urged organisers to call off the “Malaysia Reverts Camp 2019” programme, which is backed by state government agencies as well as Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

“As Perlis police chief, I do not allow Zakir Naik to attend the programmes today as he has been raising issues that can threaten the general peace of Malaysians,” he told a press conference.

He said some 150 police reports have been filed against Naik.

“We are a multiracial country, we have to take care of the sensitivities of all and the peace and harmony that we currently enjoy. I am duty-bound to ensure that.

“Naik can come (to Perlis), but he cannot give any talks. If the organisers let him talk, then action will be taken under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and other relevant laws.”

He also said Naik should inform state police in the future what he plans to speak on.

“The way he talks, not everyone likes it. People of other races are unhappy. If he wants to talk, ask him to inform us first what he wants to talk, let us vet it.”

Meanwhile Asri, one of the most vocal local Muslim leaders defending Naik, advised the preacher to skip the “reverts camp” for his own safety.

When contacted, Naik’s disciple Zamri Vinoth confirmed to FMT that the preacher and his family members are staying out of the event.

“I trust his wisdom and judgment. The Malaysia Reverts Camp 2019 will still go on,” he said, adding that Naik’s students would replace him.

“So the segment will be ‘Ask Students of Dr Zakir Naik’.”

The camp, to be held at Perlis’s picturesque “Floating Mosque”, was to feature Naik, his wife Farhat, and their children Fariq, Rushda and Zikra.

Organisers, including Perlis Islamic agencies, had touted the event as the largest gathering of Muslim converts.

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 were more loyal to India’s Narendra Modi than to Mahathir, despite receiving “100 times” more rights than Muslims in India.

He was also quoted as saying that Chinese in Malaysia were considered “guests” in Malaysia as well.

Naik, who has been summoned by the police over his speeches, has since claimed that he is the target of a vilification campaign.