Unwise to bring Zakir Naik to Penang, says state mufti

Penang mufti Wan Salim Mohd Noor. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Penang mufti Wan Salim Mohd Noor said it is not a wise thing for anyone in the state to bring in controversial Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik to give religious talks.

He said that Naik’s speeches often create controversy.

“His speeches may disturb the peace in our multiracial community.

“It is best not to bring him (Naik) to give speeches at the moment,” he said in a statement today.

Wan Salim added that his personal opinion was that there was no need to bring in foreign preachers to Penang.

“We have enough local ’ustaz’ (religious teachers) capable of giving good religious speeches,” he said.

He also said that anyone who wants to bring religious preachers from outside would need to get the state religious department’s approval first.

“For those who still want to invite Naik here, it is best to do it at a closed-door event to avoid any untoward incident,” Wan Salim said.

Earlier today, Kedah exco in charge of religious affairs Ismail Salleh said they had barred Naik from speaking in the state.

“Don’t add fuel to the fire. We will not put the unity among the people in the state at risk,” Malay daily Sinar Harian quoted Ismail as saying.

Meanwhile, the Perak exco in charge of religious affairs, Asmuni Awi, said the state will not stop Naik or any other freelance preachers from giving talks in the state.

Bernama reported Asmuni as saying that there had been no request yet for Naik to hold talks in the state.

He said the state will consider any such applications to conduct religious programmes but would ensure they did not threaten the prevailing peace and harmony.

Last week, Perlis police chief Noor Mushar Mohd had warned the controversial preacher from giving any speech in the state as Naik had been raising issues that can threaten “the general peace of Malaysians”.

‘No ban on Naik in Sabah, yet’

In KOTA KINABALU, Sabah mufti Bungsu @ Aziz Jaafar said the state had no intention of banning Naik from entering or speaking in the state as yet.

However, the Sabah religious authorities will not hesitate to recommend to the state to stop Naik from coming here if they found he held extremist religious views in his speeches, he added.

“We have never invited him over, nor has he been here before.”

On Thursday, Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said he had yet to receive any report from the state religious authorities over whether Naik’s speeches had extremist religious views.

“If there are reports and clear evidence, we won’t hesitate to ban him. This is under the state government’s jurisdiction but such a report hasn’t come to my knowledge yet,” he said.

Calls for action to be taken against Naik have grown following a recent series of lectures he gave in Kota Bharu, one of which allegedly touched on the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Naik was reported to have said 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 was also quoted as saying that Chinese in Malaysia were considered “guests” in the country.

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

Police have received more than 100 reports against Naik.

Naik, who is being investigated for causing intentional insult to provoke a breach of the peace, had his statement taken at Bukit Aman on Friday. He will continue doing so tomorrow afternoon.