GEORGE TOWN: Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor today defended embattled Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik, saying Malaysians should see him for what he truly is.
He said they should shed any bias against Naik and stop calling him names such as “extremist” or “spreader of lies”.
Wan Salim claimed that those who were against Naik were basically those who were afraid to face him due to his prowess in comparative religious studies.
“He is a very open person who would engage in a dialogue with anyone in an academic and rational manner. He is just delivering the truth,” he said.
He said all Malaysians must remember that Islam is the official religion in the Constitution and, therefore, its preachers must be given more space for the faith to be spread compared with other religions in the country.
“They must understand that Islam does not force anyone to be a Muslim, as stated in the Holy Quran. As Muslims, we are duty-bound to spread the word on Islam to all humans.
“We are duty-bound to spread Islam because Islam is the real faith passed down from Allah, who created humans and the entire universe. This is not based on hearsay, but based on facts and science, there is no doubt about it,” he said.
On Sunday, Wan Salim was reported to have said it would be best not to bring Naik to Penang to give talks for the moment as his speeches often created controversy.
Police had summoned Naik to record his statement after more than 100 police reports were lodged against him, following remarks about Malaysian Hindus and Malaysian Chinese, which members of the two communities regarded as objectionable.
Earlier today, after being questioned by police, he apologised for his remarks, but added that they had been taken out of context.