Post Calls for Expulsion, Zakir Naik Apologises for Racial Remarks

Naik said in a statement his detractors had taken his remarks out of context and added “strange fabrications”.  

Updated20 Aug 2019, 10:45 AM IST
3 min read

Controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik, on Tuesday, 20 August, apologised for making comments about race in multi-ethnic Malaysia which sparked calls for his expulsion, a day after being questioned by police, PTI reports said.

Calls had escalated for Naik to be kicked out of Malaysia after he said Hindus in the country have "100 times" more rights than India's Muslim minority, and suggested Chinese Malaysians should be expelled before he was.

He was questioned by the police for 10 hours on Monday on suspicion of committing an intentional insult aimed at provoking breach of peace.

On Tuesday, Naik said in a statement his detractors had taken his remarks out of context and added “strange fabrications”.

"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 went on to say, according to PTI.

Banned From Giving Public Speeches Across Malaysia

Earlier on Tuesday, Naik was banned from giving public speeches all across Malaysia in interest of national security, the police told Malay Mail.

Malay Mail had previously received a tip-off on the existence of a circular detailing the order, to all police contingents across the country.

Royal Malaysia Police Head of Corporate Communications Datuk Asmawati Ahmad confirmed the order when contacted by the 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,” the Royal Malaysia Police Head told Malay Mail.

This comes a day after Naik was summoned for a second time by Malaysian authorities after his alleged racial remarks against Hindus and Chinese, hours after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told the controversial Indian televangelist that he is not allowed to participate in political activities in some states in Malayasia.

Called to Record Statement

The official Bernama news agency reported on Monday that Naik, wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches, has been called for a second time to have his statement recorded at Bukit Aman, The Royal Malaysia Police Headquarters in Kuala Lampur.

Zakir was scheduled to arrive at Bukit Aman to resume giving his statement under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of peace, according to CID director Huzir Mohamed.

The 53-year-old preacher, who is a permanent resident in Muslim-majority Malaysia, had his statement recorded for the first time on 16 August, the report said.

Naik’s Controversial Remarks

Naik is alleged to have made controversial remarks against Malaysian-Hindus and Malaysian-Chinese during a talk in Kota Baru on 3 August, prompting calls for him to be deported to India.

Responding to calls for his deportation from Malaysia by suggesting Malaysian Chinese should leave the country first as they were “old guests.”

He also said that ethnic Hindus in Malaysia enjoyed “100 times more rights” than Muslims in India and that they believed in the Indian government more than the Malaysian one, media reports said.

Malaysian PM Unhappy With Naik’s Comments

Reacting to Naik's controversial comments, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir on Sunday said it was "quite clear" that Naik wanted to participate in racial politics.

"He is stirring up racial feelings. The police will have to investigate whether it is causing tension; obviously, it is," he said.

Mahathir added that as a permanent resident, Naik was not allowed to participate in politics.

"You can preach (religiously). But he wasn't doing that," he said.

"He was talking about Chinese going back to China and Indians going back to India. I have never said such things. But he did. That is politics," the annoyed Malaysian prime minister said.

Banned From Making Public Speeches

Meanwhile, more Malaysian provinces have banned Naik from making public speeches.

On Monday, Melaka became the latest state to ban his speeches.

Naik has been banned from speaking in Melaka, said the Malaysian state’s Chief Minister Adly Zahari.

Adly said the state government wants to avoids any issue that could strain ties between races in the country, the Star reported on Monday.

“We want to maintain this. So we decided not to allow Mr Naik to hold talks or gatherings here," he was quoted as saying.

Last week, the northern state of Perlis banned him from speaking at an event, following public uproar over racially insensitive remarks which he had made.

Naik has already been banned from the Malaysian states of Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah and Sarawak.

(With inputs from PTI and Malay Times)

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(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

Published: 19 Aug 2019, 01:50 PM IST

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