We call on Hundutva supporters and followers to stop hounding Dr. Zakir Naik, calling for cancellation of his permanent residence status and to send him back to India for trial.
Dr. Zakir is a highly respected and honoured Islamic intellectual and preacher with millions of followers throughout the world, including in Malaysia. He was awarded the International Tokoh Maal Hijrah in 2013 for his services to Islam. We believe that the award was given to him after a thorough vetting by government agencies including the Special Branch.
Therefore, to demonise him as a supporter of terrorism and money launderer, following the Hindutva government in India, is unacceptable and offensive to the Malaysian government, millions of Muslims and right-thinking people. While one may disagree with him on some of his views, there is no basis to label him a terrorism-supporter and national security threat. In his meetings he has welcomed people who do not agree with him to express their views. Why do his critics not engage him in a democratic dialogue, instead of demonstrating on the streets?
They want his PR status revoked and handed to the Indian police who are notorious for fabricating terrorism charges against Muslims, torturing them to obtain confessions, and keeping them in prison for long years awaiting trial.
For example, in 1994, Nisaruddin Ahmad, a pharmacy student, was picked up by the police while he was on his way to college and kept in prison under the anti-terrorism law. While in police custody, he was tortured to obtain false confession. He was released by the Supreme Court 23 years later in 2016 as there was no evidence of crime against him. He was 20 years old when he was arrested and 43 when released. In 2016, the Indian parliament was told that there were around 60,000 Muslims in jail awaiting trial.
Those demonstrating and demanding that Dr Zakir be sent back to India should understand that India is no more the India of Ghandi, Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. It is ruled by a neo-fascist political party BJP and its leader came to power through preaching hatred against Muslims and on the blood of the thousands killed in the Hindutva communal carnage in Gujarat and Muzaffarnagar.
The Chief Minister of the largest state in India is a Hundutva priest who stirred up communal conflict by falsely accusing Muslim youths of seducing and eloping with Hindu girls, labelling it love-jihad. Muslims, suspected of consuming beef or transporting cows, are publicly lynched watched by millions. The Hindutva supporters and followers, who have never spoken up against this barbarism, should be thankful they live in Malaysia where the Malay-Muslim majority is extremely tolerant and peaceful. But tolerance has its limits.
We call on the Malaysian police to keep a close watch on the activities of the Hindutva followers and supporters here and their links to the Hidutva extremists in India as they can pose a threat to our national unity and security.