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Zakir Naik, more than just a fugitive

  • Zakir is more than just a wanted fugitive, he is also a religious extremist and ideological terrorist. Arresting him and throwing him out of this country is our only choice now.

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

I don't understand why Mahathir cares so much about a wanted criminal.

He earlier said we could not send away Zakir Naik, as no country would want to take him.

Not true. India will welcome him back. They are eagerly waiting for him to go back and stand trial.

Saudi Arabia will also receive him with open arms. They have even granted him citizenship!

I believe Afghanistan or the IS-controlled pockets of Syria and Iraq would love to have him, too.

Mahathir later said if we were to deport Zakir, he would face the risk of being killed.

I feel that such a statement has only showed our PM's disrespect for India. As a democratic country upholding the rule of law spirit, India has the obligation to ensure Zakir's safety and his right to defend himself in court, if he were to be repatriated. It's not for Mahathir to worry about his fate.

As we have maintained good diplomatic ties with New Delhi, it is unbecoming for us to make the Indians feel that we are questioning the capability of their police or underestimating their country's judiciary.

Well, if Mahathir does not trust India, he can always send Zakir back to Saudi, an Islamic state with almost 100% Muslim population which should offer the best assurance for the runaway preacher.

Whether Zakir will stand trial in India or be accepted by a third country, that has nothing much to do with Malaysia actually.

But, if we keep him here any longer, we can hardly have peaceful days ahead.

Several years ago, I started watching his speeches in Malaysia and elsewhere on YouTube.

I must first clarify a point that as a non-Muslim, I have nothing to say about his way of preaching the virtues of the Islamic faith.

But while he is doing the preaching, he loves to compare his religion with other religions, in particular Hinduism and Christianity.

It shouldn't be a problem at all if he is just comparing the merits and universal love of different religions. Unfortunately, he compares religions with the sole motive of disparaging others' by picking out their faults to protrude the superiority and orthodoxy of Islam.

He has been talking so much about other religions, but that does not mean he really understands them. For instance, A religious scholar analyzing a part he talked about Christianity said he had made more than 20 mistakes in a short 10-minute speech.

And his disparaging remarks on Hinduism couldn't have been more commonplace, probably because he was born and raised in India where as a religious minority, he could have a good deal of unpleasant experiences.

Such a way of marketing a religion by way of decrying other religions may not produce the desirable effects in a 100% Muslim country. However, in a country where different religions have been in relatively peaceful coexistence such as Malaysia, his tactic may pay off very well.

The reason is very simple. Malaysia's nationhood has been established upon the harmonious coexistence of our multicultural society in which people embracing different religions respect one another and will never criticize others.

Nevertheless, this foreign preacher now comes here and talks nonsense about our religions without respecting our traditions and religious sensitivity. It is not surprising that many Muslims here have idolized him.

While this Zakir is on many countries' ban lists, he has been accorded a VVIP treatment in this country. Sure enough this warm reception has emboldened him and made him reluctant to leave.

Everywhere he goes, he tears apart the cohesion foundation of the Malaysian society over and again, devastating the mutual understanding and friendship between people of different faiths in this country.

This time, he has questioned the loyalty of Indian Malaysians while arguing that Chinese Malaysians are the “guests' of this country. Such inflammatory remark is by no means incidental but more of his customary behavior.

Prior to this, he said in a public speech that Muslims would rather choose a corrupt, incapable Muslim to lead a country than having a clean and capable non-Muslim leader.

If this is not extremism, I wonder whether there is anything more insensible in this world.

As such, a country that opts to shelter him is one that has renounced its principles.

Unfortunately, ordinary Muslim audiences may not to tell the grave blunders or prejudices in Zakir's speeches. They trust everything he says and accepts his exclusionary religious views wholesale.

Zakir is more than just a wanted fugitive, he is also a religious extremist and ideological terrorist.

Arresting him and throwing him out of this country is the only choice for us now. What is going to happen to him next is none of our business.

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