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Thursday, April 27, 2017

We’re giving too much space in our media and lives to Naik

With the whole nation and the media talking about him, the controversial preacher has been elevated to superstar status and is probably gloating on his triumph

Surely Malaysia and its people are on a much stronger footing than to be threatened by one man who claims to be an interfaith scholar but has a skewed view of everything around him.

We have made Zakir Naik woefully big by giving him too much space in our media and lives.

Let him go, let him loose, let him do what he wants and in the meantime let us, Malaysians, first get our acts together. Let us stay strong adopting the “one for all, all for one” maxim which has seen us through trying times in the past.

Having said that, the government’s numbness towards the people’s concerns, worry and anxiety is rather unbefitting.

The government should call for serious discussion among scholars to view the plausibility of allowing Zakir Naik’s continued stay in Malaysia. What have we to gain and lose? We owe it to ourselves to investigate his tendencies.

And is it not quite apparent that Naik is parasite-like and is drawing his benefits from a select number of groups in Malaysia?

These groups, with a very myopic agenda and constricted views, fall perfectly well into Naik’s scheme and he has been accorded too much prominence in return for his brand of Islamisation.

It is surprising that the Malaysian government, which readily offered Naik permanent residence status has not seen the parasite-like mindset that he displays quite blatantly.

Naik started years ago as a renowned orator on Islam and comparative religions. I have heard his sermons which were mostly acceptable, with a fair amount of moderate views about other religions.

Somewhere along the way, he succumbed to the fanatical tendencies, making him an object of scrutiny in his home country.

He was often seen and heard quoting from Hindu scriptures and the Bible with very accurate references, which made him a true man of knowledge, and it is a pity that he now happens to be on the wrong side with religions other than his own; truly regrettable.

What is absent, it might seem, is any sustained exploration of parallels among religions of the world that could be the basis for us to be united under the banner of humanity.

Come to think of it, Naik is probably feeling at home in Malaysia as the country is beginning to see the wear and tear of having to cope with factions causing dissension and discord.

While the government propagates moderation, orators from around the country have been freely promulgating their own brands and versions of religion.

Naik is known to have declined invitations to debate on his pet subject of comparative religions, and I wonder why.

Naik is on a mission, first to escape from the clutches of the law from his home country and secondly to enrich himself in terms of popularity and prominence. With the whole nation and all media talking about him, he is elevated to superstar status and is probably gloating on his triumph.

 By Bhavani Krishna Iyer, FMT reader

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