Don’t get carried away, Penang mufti warns varsities after Zakir Naik exam question

Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor today urged universities to exercise care when setting exam papers and syllabi, following reports that a varsity in Perlis had set a test question appearing to praise controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

In a statement, Wan Salim said Naik was an “Islamic intellectual icon” but warned against getting carried away.

“Being proud of an icon should not lead to irrational acts, to the point of losing sensitivity to the importance of instilling and maintaining good relations and harmony among different races and faiths,” he said.

“This obsession over certain icons should not enter the academic world as it could poison the minds of students and worsen relations among Malaysians.”

The exam question on Naik had appeared in an Ethnic Relations paper set by Universiti Malaysia Perlis.

The multiple-choice question read: “Zakir Naik is one of the icons of the Islamic world. He is very active in spreading true Islam and following the Quran and Sunnah of Rasulullah SAW. He is able to reason and to answer every question that is asked to him. However, in Malaysia, he is no longer allowed to deliver his preaching. In your opinion, as a Malaysian, why does this happen?”

Students were asked to choose one of four answers:

1) Malaysians do not bother to receive information;

2) Malaysians are sensitive and feel threatened for no reason;

3) Malaysians just follow the crowd without verifying any information; or

4) Malaysians are ignorant about their own religions.