It was shocking to witness the intolerant attitude of Indian PM Narendra Modi and his government towards one of the most contemporary and influential Muslim scholars of the world - Mr. Zakir Naik .

Nobody can challenge the knowledge and expertise of this genius on Islam and Quran. His teaching promotes care for humanity. He has always been respectful to all religions of the world in his speeches and has always promoted peace and harmony.

Although there are many Hindu scholars who also promote interfaith harmony and peace and most of them appreciate his religious insight. His insight does not hurt followers of any religion.

India should have been proud to produce such a versatile Islamic scholar like Mr Zakir Naik who was born in Mumbai, India on 18 October 1965 He graduated from the University of Mumbai, where he obtained a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree (MBBS). He preferred being scholar rather to be a doctor. He is followed by millions of Muslims as well as the non-Muslims in all parts of the world. He is a renowned Islamic preacher and the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), which has nothing to do with terrorism.

In 1991 he started working in the field of Dawah, and founded the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). His wife, Farhat Naik, also works for the women’s section of the Islamic Research foundation (IRF). Zakir Naik founded the Islamic International School in Mumbai and United Islamic Aid, which provides scholarship to poor and needy Muslim youth. He is also a board member and adviser of iERA.

In 2010, he was denied entry into the United Kingdom and Canada. He was forbidden to enter Canada after an Asian born journalist, used by the Indian State, exaggerated and falsified propaganda against Pakistan and also conspired against Naik’s views. The ban was opposed as an attack on freedom of speech. Naik attempted to challenge the ruling in the High Court but his application for judicial review was dismissed on 5 November 2010 and he was deprived of justice from his own Indian High court.

Zakir Naik was passing his knowledge through Peace TV Network and his channel aims to promote “Truth, Justice, Morality, Harmony and Wisdom for the whole of humankind”. The level of Indian Government’s bigotry towards a Muslim can be judged by their act of banning the Peace TV channel in 2012 because it was serving Islam, which could not be tolerated by RSS and influenced the Government.

According to an Indian journalist, the Mumbai police had barred him from holding conferences with ridiculous allegations that he stirs controversy” hence his voice on TV was muted but unfortunately a supporter of interfaith Harmony was banned and Indian satellite have refused to broadcast his television channel, Peace TV.

The Indian forced Naik In 2016, to be a non-resident Indian (NRI). In 2017 however he was graciously granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia.

On 18 July 2017, India also revoked Zakir Naik’s passport following a recommendation from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and on 28 July 2017 declared him an offender and initiated a process to attach his assets, which is sheer violating of human tights.

He is currently residing in Malaysia, where he has permanent resident status. India kept following him so much so that in July 2018; India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) reportedly wanted the extradition of Zakir Naik despite Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad stating that the federal government would not deport Naik without cause.

Mr. Zakir Naik is being victimised for having done no crime whereas a religious based terrorist organisation RSS is operating with full immunity and State of India is fully sponsoring terrorism through it. Please compare the peaceful and his interfaith efforts with terrorist activities of RSS and it is sad to see this discrimination.

I would like to ask PM Modi and other Indian leaders as to why his property has been seized and why is he being harassed?

PM Modi always under compulsion of RSS follows anti-Muslim rhetoric before General Elections and this time his prime target is not only Mr Zakir Naik but also entire Muslim Ummah as well as the Muslims residing in India.

Though I have not met him in person but have definitely heard his speeches with excellent command over logics regarding Islamic-teaching. He always talked on world peace and supported harmony among cultures and religions besides declaring suicide attack as an un-Islamic act. He spoke against terrorism.

To people who call Islam as intolerant religion, Zakir Naik is the most befitting answer which sums it all as he says that, “Islam is also labelled as intolerant, and it is indeed, but towards corruption, discrimination, injustice, adultery, alcoholism, and all evils. Islam is the most ‘tolerant’ religion as far as promoting the human values is concerned.”

He has also talked about religious discrimination against Muslims saying: “If a Muslim woman wears hijab or veil it is labelled as women subjugation, but if a nun does to the same it turns into a sign of respect and modesty - what wrong did he say here?

He also talked about the negative portrayal of Islam referring to the concept of extremism against Islam saying that ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘extremist’ are two misinterpreted words, which are basically western words.

Once he was asked about his views on terrorism, to which he stated that Hitler, “who was not a Muslim, is the biggest terrorist in the world as he incinerated 46 million Jews.” When asked about his views on killings, Naik referred to the teachings of Quran that - if anyone kills an innocent human being, Muslim or non-Muslim, it is as though he has killed the whole humanity, so how can any Muslim kill innocent human being?”.

India is land of blunders where you see acts of discrimination and hate for other religions; where the freedom of speech is crippled by the armed RSS duly sponsored by government.

I call upon Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Religious Affairs to take this matter with OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) to condemn the discrimination of Zakir Naik on religious grounds by Indian government. I also appeal to all Indians that you must protest against this uncalled for victimization just because he is prominent but harmless Muslim scholar who was born on your soil. Will India ever send the RSS Chief into forced exile who is actually heading a terrorist outfit?

 

n             The writer is Chairman of think tank "global eye" & former Interior Minister of Pakistan.