A day after Zakir Naik was quizzed for over 10 hours by police for his remarks against Malaysian Hindus, the Islamic preacher has been banned from giving public speeches anywhere in Malaysia.
Malaysian police said this has been done in the interest of national security. Datuk Asmawati Ahmad, head of corporate communications, The Royal Malaysia Police, confirmed the development to Malay Mail.
“Yes. Such an order has been given to all police contingents, and this was done in the interest of national security and to preserve racial harmony,” she said.
At least seven states had banned Naik’s speeches by Sunday including Melaka, Johot, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Sarawak.
Earlier on Sunday, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad criticised the Islamic preacher over his comments against minority communities in Malaysia. He had also said that Naik had “transgressed” his permanent resident (PR) status privilege by issuing such statements.
Not only Malaysian Hindus but Naik had also asked Malaysian-Chinese people to go back as they too are seen as “immigrants” in one of his speeches.
‘People misunderstood me’
Meanwhile, Naik has denied the allegations levelled against him and said that people have misunderstood him.
“I have always been a man of peace because that’s what Qur’an stands for. It has been my mission to spread peace throughout the world. Unfortunately, I do face detractors who try to prevent me from carrying out my mission,” Naik said in a statement,
“As you must have noticed for the past few days I am being accused of causing racial discord in the country and my detractors have been using selective sentences taken out of context and adding strange fabrications into them. Today, I have clarified my stance to the police,” he added.
He asked people, especially non-Muslims, to first listen to his speeches before criticising him. “It saddened me that this entire episode has caused many non-Muslims to think of me as a racist. It also worried me because the ones who are hurt have not heard my speeches but based their impressions on out-of-context quotes of me,” Naik said.
“Racism is an evil I am staunchly against, as is the Qur’aan, and it is the exact opposite of everything I stand for as an Islamic preacher,” he added.
Naik further said he owed an apology to everyone who got hurt in the episode.
“Even though I have clarified myself, I feel I owe an apology to everyone who feels hurt because of this misunderstanding. I do not want any of you to harbour ill feelings towards me. It was never my intention to upset any individual or community. It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding,” he said.
Zakir Naik is wanted by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) over charges of inciting terror in India and there is a pending extradition request against him. He is also wanted by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with money-laundering charges.