Wednesday December 19, 2018

Zakir Naik: A Muslim who turned into a Hardcore Islamist and a hate monger

Zakir Naik turned Islamist, declaring non-Muslims as "disoriented", justifying sex with female slaves and calling upon Indian Muslims to refrain from saying "namaste".

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Dr. Zakir Naik. Image Source: www.halaltube.com
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-by Kushagra Dixit 

  • Zakir Naik turned Islamist, declaring non-Muslims as “disoriented”, justifying sex with female slaves and calling upon Indian Muslims to refrain from saying “namaste”
  • Naik, now 50, is founder of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and Peace TV, which has over 100 million viewers
  • As Naik’s hate poison spread, he began to face bans in many countries including the US, Canada and the UK

NEW DELHI: He began with talks on comparative religion, exhibiting a huge storehouse of knowledge that attracted a large number of Muslims and many non-Muslims too. But as his popularity grew, Zakir Naik turned Islamist, declaring non-Muslims as “disoriented”, justifying sex with female slaves and calling upon Indian Muslims to refrain from saying “namaste”.

Naik, now 50, is a Founder of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and Peace TV, which has over 100 million viewers. A doctor by training, Naik is now in trouble over allegations that his interpretation of Islam has radicalized young Muslims in India and beyond.

Screenshot of Islamic Research Foundation. Image Source: play.google.com
Screenshot of Islamic Research Foundation. Image Source: play.google.com

In his early speeches, Naik referred to popular misconceptions about Islam. In a 2006 talk, he even claimed that the “Kalki Avatar” in Hinduism was a prophesy for Prophet Mohammad. He drew parallels between jehad and Lord Krishna’s call in the Bhagavad Gita to fight evil.

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As the years rolled by, Naik turned against other religions, calling some hoax. Some, he told gatherings, were no religion. He quoted the Upanishad and other texts to claim that idol worship was against Hinduism.

Naik said it was wrong for Muslims to say “Namaste” or “Vande Mataram” and greet Christians with “Merry Christmas”.

Dr. Zakir Naik giving speech. Image Source: muslimmirror.com
Dr. Zakir Naik giving speech. Image Source: muslimmirror.com

“The Bible has over 50,000 errors, it’s unscientific,” he declared in some lectures.

He made fun of Jesus Christ’s sermon to offer the other cheek if slapped on one. He told a young Christian at one crowd: “It’s baseless. Would you keep offering your cheek if we keep slapping you?”

At his gatherings, Naik would often bluntly ask questioners if he or she would embrace Islam if he answered their questions correctly. Some agreed and ended up changing their religion.

He said Muslims too could embrace other religions. But the punishment for this, he would quickly add, was “maut” (death).

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Asked by a man if he considered Hindus as humans since he did not consider Hinduism as a religion, Naik replied: “If by Hindu you mean a geographical definition, then I don’t have any problem.”

Holy book: Quran. Image Source: www.islamic-research.org
Holy book: Quran. Image Source: www.islamic-research.org

“For peace to prevail, you have to follow the guidance of the Quran,” he said while answering a question from a Jew at a conference in India.

Among Naik’s other controversial teachings:

* “It is the duty of every Muslim to convey the message of Allah to non-Muslims.” This comment triggered a ban on his entering the UK.

* He defended Osama bin Laden and called 9/11 an “American conspiracy”.

Osama bin laden. Image Source: www.history.com
Osama bin laden. Image Source: www.history.com

* “If the word ‘terrorist’ means to terrorize the ememies or unsocial elements, then every Muslim must be a terrorist.”

* “A Muslim can have sex with his wife or what his right hand possesses, which means a slave.” He referred to slaves as “prisoners of war”.

* Guantanamo Bay, which houses imprisoned terrorists, was holding “Muslim slaves”.

* Asked why many Muslims become terrorists, Naik said: “It is a media strategy to malign Islam.”

* Justifying polygamy, Naik said there were more women in the world than men and polygamy saved “extra women” from becoming “public property”.

* Campaigning against pork, Naik argued that pig invited other males to have sex with his female mate. “Something similar happens in the Western society where they go to dance parties and do (wife) swapping.” This, he said, was because Westerners ate pork.

Darul Uloom Deoband. Image Source: easterncrescent.in
Darul Uloom Deoband. Image Source: easterncrescent.in

As Naik’s hate poison spread, he began to face bans in many countries including the US, Canada and the UK. He has also been denied permission in some Indian cities to hold meetings. And more than once, the Darul Uloom Deoband, India’s largest and oldest Islamic seminary, issued fatwas asking Muslims not to go by Naik’s sermons and teachings.

(IANS correspondent Kushagra Dixit has followed Zakir Naik for years. Before writing this, he spent hours re-listening to many of his sermons again and again to ensure accuracy. He can be reached at kushagra.d@ians.in <mailto:kushagra.d@ians.in)

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  • AJ Krish

    This is an example of how publicity can make some people go crazy. These are no words of a learned man.

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Rohingyas Repatriation to Myanmar Scrapped by Bangladesh

Negotiations for repatriation have been in the works for months.

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Rohingya, myanmar, violence
An elderly Rohingya refugee holds a placard during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, in Bangladesh.VOA

Bangladesh’s plans to begin repatriating Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar Thursday were scrapped because officials were unable to find anyone who wanted to return to the country that has been accused of driving out hundreds of thousands in a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

The refugees “are not willing to go back now,” Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam told The Associated Press. He said officials “can’t force them to go” but will continue to try to “motivate them so it happens.”

Some people on the government’s repatriation list disappeared into the sprawling refugee camps to avoid being sent home, while others joined a large demonstration against the plan.

Rohingya, myanmar
Workers build a Rohingya repatriation center in Gunndum near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. VOA

UN urged a halt to repatriation

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh from western Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 2017 to escape killings and destruction of their villages by the military and Buddhist vigilantes that have drawn widespread condemnation of Myanmar.

The United Nations, whose human rights officials had urged Bangladesh to halt the repatriation process even as its refugee agency workers helped to facilitate it, welcomed Thursday’s development.

Firas Al-Khateeb, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Cox’s Bazar, said it was unclear when the process might begin again.

“We want their repatriation, but it has to be voluntary, safe and smooth,” he said.

Bangladesh officials declined to say whether another attempt at repatriation would be made Friday.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali told reporters in Dhaka late Thursday that “there is no question of forcible repatriation. We gave them shelter, so why should we send them back forcibly?”

Rohingya, myanmar
Rohingya refugee children shout slogans during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

Pleading with Rohingya

At the Unchiprang refugee camp, a Bangladeshi refugee official implored the Rohingya on Thursday to return to their country over a loudspeaker.

“We have arranged everything for you, we have six buses here, we have trucks, we have food. We want to offer everything to you. If you agree to go, we’ll take you to the border, to the transit camp,” he said.

“We won’t go!” hundreds of voices, including children’s, chanted in reply.

Some refugees on the repatriation lists, which authorities say were drawn up with assistance from the UNHCR, said they don’t want to go back.

‘I don’t want to go back’

At the Jamtoli refugee camp, one of the sprawling refugee settlements near the city of Cox’s Bazar, 25-year-old Setara said she and her two children, age 4 and 7, were on a repatriation list, but her parents were not. She said she had never asked to return to Myanmar, and that she had sent her children to a school run by aid workers Thursday morning as usual.

“They killed my husband; now I live here with my parents,” said Setara, who only gave one name. “I don’t want to go back.”

She said that other refugees on the repatriation list had fled to other camps, hoping to disappear amid the crowded lanes of refugees, aid workers and Bangladeshi soldiers, which on Thursday were bustling with commerce and other activity.

Rohingya, Myanmar
Rohingya refugees shout slogans during a protest against the repatriation process at Unchiprang refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

Plan to return 150 a day

Bangladesh had planned to send an initial group of 2,251 back from mid-November at a rate of 150 per day.

Myanmar officials, speaking late Thursday in the capital, Naypyitaw, said they were ready to receive the refugees. Despite those assurances, human rights activists said conditions were not yet safe for the Rohingya to go back.

The exodus began after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown following attacks by an insurgent group on guard posts. The scale, organization and ferocity of the crackdown led the U.N. and several governments to accuse Myanmar of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Most people in Buddhist-majority Myanmar do not accept that the Rohingya Muslims are a native ethnic group, viewing them as “Bengalis” who entered illegally from Bangladesh, even though generations of Rohingya have lived in Myanmar. Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, as well as access to education and hospitals.

Rohingya, Myanmar
Rohingya refugees cross floodwaters at Thangkhali refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district. VOA

Refugee camps bleak

The refugees survived the ransacking of villages, rapes and killings in Myanmar, but for many, life in Bangladesh’s squalid refugee camps has been bleak.

The refugees who’ve arrived in the last year joined a wave of 250,000 Rohingya Muslims who escaped forced labor, religious persecution and violent attacks from Buddhist mobs in Myanmar during the early 1990s.

Access to education and employment has been far from assured.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who hopes to retain power in December elections, has repeatedly complained that hosting more than a million Rohingya is taxing local resources.

Negotiations for repatriation have been in the works for months, but plans last January to begin sending refugees back were called off amid concerns among aid workers and Rohingya that their return would be met with violence.

Foreign leaders, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, criticized Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi this week on the sidelines of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore for her handling of the Rohingya crisis.

Also Read: Rohingya Muslims Remain Fearful Due To Forceful Repatriation

But on Thursday, Pence said that U.S. officials were “encouraged to hear that” the repatriation process would begin.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would continue working with international partners including the U.N. “to ensure that the Rohingya themselves are part of any decisions on their future.” (VOA)