Zakir Naik should be put to Scrutiny by the Government not by the Media: AIUMB President Statement

16th July 2016,

New Delhi

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All India Ulama &Mashaikh Board [AIUMB] has advised Dr Zakir Naik to come clean on allegations of influencing Muslim minds through his speeches.

President  and founder of All India Ulama &Mashaikh Board Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichhouchhawi has  today said here in a statement that Dr Zakir Naik  should come forward to face the allegations and put forward his stand so that he is able to clear the air on his speeches, Islamic Research Foundation and Peace TV broadcasts.

He said that allegations against Peace TV showing objectionable materials has been coming to fore for several years.

On occasions Zakir Naik has been barred from speaking in public and also demonstrations are held against his public appearance and speeches so it becomes more necessary for him to keep the record clear.

The government of Bangladesh has informed Ministry of Home in India about the statement of a suspect of Holy Artisan terror attack that he was influenced by Naik. This is serious allegation and corroborates the demand of Indian community to ban Zakir Naik, his Islamic Research Foundation and Peace TV.

This question can also be asked that why Indian Salafis and Wahhabis did utter no word against the suicide bombing near Prophets Mosque [ Masjid E Nabwi ] in Madina Monawwarah of KSA, one of the holiest sites of Islam on the last day of Muslim fasting month Ramadan this year. That was a big crime committed by a suicide bomber because it was not only terror but also an act of sacrilege of Prophet and the religion. Ideally it would have followed Tsunami of protests but a studied silence comes to say we are not serious in facing the dangers of terror anywhere. These are the forces that have been showing disrespect to holy places in Iraq and Syria and other Muslim countries for several years and not have been condemned by so called mainstream Muslim individuals and organizations. All those who did chose to protest against the steps taken against Zakir Naik must ponder whether stand taken by them is close to sense of justice and according to the established social norms.

Salafism, as propagated by Zakir Naik, goes against the basics of Islam, which preaches peace for all. Zakir Naik should have done better service of Islam, if he would have chosen to be true on issues like terror, Osama, suicide bombing, Status of women in Islam etc, that create question mark on his preaching.

According to AIUMB president this is the high time Zakir Naik should explain his conduct and preaching. Although we don’t support the idea of the Media Trail and would like the Indian Government to take immediate action and close this issue to be dragged on Television any longer. We are giving useless coverage to him and his likes. Intelligence agencies should come in action and look into the matter and ban him from preaching here in India.

Sign the Petition against Zakir Naik: Change.org

In Our effort to ban Zakir Naik and his extremist Wahabi Promotion in India we request everyone to please Sign this Online Petition against him. There is a strong support on Social Media for Zakir Naik. We also have to show our concern and Protest against him. All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board strongly request to sign this Petition from the below Link.

It is easy.

You can also share it on Social Media for further sharing.

Suicide bombing is categorically haram in Islam: Only Salafist ideologues like Zakir Naik view it aswar tactic:FirstPost

  Jul 17, 2016 17:27 IST firstpost

When the global influential preachers like Zakir Naik are still hell-bent on the rationalisation of suicide bombing — the gravest terror tool today — declaring it permissible as ‘a war tactic’, boldly quoting their theological ideologues, there is no point in our run-of-the-mill condemnation of the terror-playing havoc across the globe.

For the Indian Muslims anchored in the progressive values, it was deplorable to see Zakir Naik, in his press conference in Mumbai through Skype from Saudi Arabia, justifying the suicide bombing as ‘a tactic for war’. Blatantly enough, he made an attempt to justify his statement by making a reference to the Second World War, stating that “suicide bombing was used as a tactic during Second World War”.

Peace TV owner Zakir Naik. CNN-News 18

Peace TV owner Zakir Naik. CNN-News 18

Actually, his recent press conference was organised to refuse the charges against him that his sermons had inspired terror activities, including the Dhaka attack. Among his provocative statements that have serious repercussions, given the growing radical Islamist onslaughts in the world, is the following:

“Suicide bombings are permitted if a country is at war and is directed by a commander.”

When he was particularly asked to make clarifications on his notorious speeches justifying suicide bombings, he averred: “I challenge you to show me any unedited answer of mine where I have not condemned suicide bombing of the kind that is happening.” Clearly, he does not categorically condemn all kinds of suicide bombing, but only the “suicide bombing of the kind that is happening”. What if an extremist jihadist indulges in other kinds of the suicide bombings that Naik justifies?

He did say that he considered such attacks as ‘haraam’ (religiously forbidden) in Islam. But he also added: “however, many scholars permit it as a war tactic.”

Who are, then, those many scholars who have permitted the suicide bombing as war tactic? Naik has honestly named a few of them like Shaikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, a Saudi Arabian Islamic scholar and a leading proponent of the Salafi sect. Notably, Ibn Baz has served as Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia from 1993 until his death in 1999.

Naik also cited another Salafist Shaikh Abdul-Muhsin al-Abbaad who wrote a complete paper entitled, “With Which Religion and Intellect are Suicide Bombings and Destruction Considered Jihaad?

The top-most contemporary Salafist cleric and the ideological icon of the Ikhwan al-Muslimin (The Muslim Brotherhood) whose fatwas are authoritative for the global Salafi-Wahhabi clergy, is the Qatar-based Islamist jurist Shaikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi. He has also justified the suicide bombing as ‘a defensive tactic’ in his fatwa issued in the 1990s. Much like Zakir Naik, Shaikh Qaradawi has also repeatedly said that he is not the only cleric to justify suicide bombings and that his fatwa was tailored specifically for helpless Palestinians in their fight against the Israeli occupation.

It would be relevant here to reproduce what the world-renowned moderate Islamic scholar of Turkish origin, Fethullah Gülen, has stated in retort to the theological justification of suicide booming by Shaikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi. Gulen writes:
“Apparently, Qaradawi has said that this is legitimate in Islam since they (Palestinians) have no other weapons to use. I was deeply saddened when I heard this statement by Yusuf al-Qaradawi (b.1926) because he, like Ratib al-Nabulsi (b.1938), said Ramadan al-Buti (d.2013) and Hassan al-Turabi (b.1932) are well-known people in the Muslim world – they are not average people, they are well-known. When they speak, it is as if they speak on behalf of Islam and as a result, Islam is negatively impacted by this statement. How can he legitimise such an act? On what Islamic rule or principle does he base this opinion? That does not mean I am suggesting that we remain indifferent to what is happening there – I die with every person I see dying in those lands. But this form of action is not in accordance with the “pleasure of God” or with reason.”

The Pakistani Sufi Islamic scholar Dr Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri wrote a 512-page voluminous book, “Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide bombing” in 2010 in the wake of 9/11 terror attacks. He delegitimised every form of terror activity and suicide bombing in unequivocal and categorical terms. He argued: “Islam never allowed rebellion against the regimes, even if they were unjust or oppressive. Takfiri terrorists, who declare fellow Muslims of being apostates, have existed in every era in Islamic history and will continue to exist until the end times…Some terrorists in fact appear so devout that Hadith warns they would be difficult to target, because their pious works discourage any offensive against them. The violent jihadists’ mix of piety and attractive, grievance-based interpretations of political events, especially those that appear to be against the Muslim world, serves as both a powerful recruiting tool and a strong self-defensive measure.”

While the authoritative Islamic scholars of the Indian subcontinent have also endorsed the above consistent stance against all kinds of suicide bombings and terror attacks, the country’s Muslims are distressed at the misleading stand of Zakir Naik on suicide bombing adding a qualifier. Buttressing his viewpoint on suicide bombing, Naik has referred to the Salafist-Saudi ideologues who he considers as only the authentic Islamic scholars and authorities in religion. Thus, he is clearly trying to install the exclusivist religious narrative of the Salafi theologians such as Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Abdul Wahhab, Shaikh Ibn Baaz and the ilk, in place of the inclusivist, multicultural and pluralistic Indian Islam. At a time when several Muslim countries like Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Cyprus, Malaysia and Indonesia have banned the books and videos of all these clerics, fearing the influence of their takfirist contents on the young and gullible youth, how come they are still being propagated on a secular soil like India?

A violent jihadist does not spare a moment to rethink his decision before engaging in wanton and virulent killings of innocent lives, especially when inspired by an intolerant theology and emboldened by any religious justification of his attack.

The latest terror unleashed in France and Turkey is a reminder for us to call a spade a spade. Increasing acts of terror in the world are not just a law and order problem. There is a crystal-clear ideological battle that has deep roots in an extremist theology. As long as the extremist preachers continue to cherry-pick and quote the medieval jurisprudential rulings which are canonised in the so-called Islamic State, we should not hope for any tremendous upheaval breaking the cycle of brainless violence.

Zakir Naik is not a terrorist, but he can do great damage to Islam:FirstPost

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi Jul 12, 2016 17:18 ISTfirstpost

Zakir Naik is not a terrorist, but he can do great damage to Islam

Amid increasing controversies on the extremist sermons of the radical televangelist Dr Zakir Naik aired on his Peace TV, the note of caution on part of the Indian Prime Minister assumes significance. Addressing the students at the University of Nairobi, PM Narendra Modi has warned that “preachers of hate and violence are threatening the fabric of the society”, as reported in The Times of India.

What is more to the point is his appeal to the youth to articulate a “counter-narrative to extremist ideologies”. This exhortation stresses the need to counter radicalisation on an ideological front, rather than merely denouncing or calling for a blanket ban on certain extremist preachers.

That an effective counter-narrative to extremist ideologies should be built with an active role of the youth is a concrete suggestion that PM Modi has made amid the run-of-the-mill statements on the issue of the controversial Islamist televangelist Zakir Naik. Remarkably, he seems to make an underlying point which applies to all the extremist and hardcore preachers and radical televangelists, without calling their names. That is to say, the knee-jerk reactions are not going to help us face the real challenge of extremist preachers and hate-mongers. In order to dismantle their influence, their hardcore ideology which is on the rampage should be rebutted with a well-established counter-narrative. Youth must play their role in refuting the violent theological underpinnings of hate sermons, channelizing the peaceful resources in their religions, national secular culture and democratic values.

Extremist preachers and radical televangelists like Zakir Naik, or anyone else for that matter, are indeed not ‘terrorists’. Rather, they are ideologues of chauvinism, radicalism, exclusivism, xenophobia and religious bigotry breeding the grounds for terror. Therefore, merely banning them will not serve the purpose. The gullible youth will continue to be fed on the same ideologies being preached by the likes of Dr Naik across the world. The mainstream Islamic scholars will have to come out to confront them, rebutting their twisted religious underpinnings, theological misinterpretations and extremist doctrines, point by point.

What attaches due importance to the Indian Prime Minister’s comments on the extremist preachers is the recent radicalisation of the six young and educated attackers of Dhaka who were allegedly motivated by Zakir Naik’s sermons. Given this, it is not difficult to see why the PM has made a special appeal to the youth to “play an important role in building a counter narrative to extremist ideologies.”

Extremist preachers threaten the entire society, influencing the young and the old alike. But the gullible youth with impressionable minds are more vulnerable to their pernicious propaganda. The energetic and dynamic youths who give in to the inflammatory speeches of their religious gurus, try to translate their extremist teachings into practice. In a crazy bid to please their preachers, some of them get carried away to resort to weapons, sometimes going to the extent of suicide bombing to serve the ‘holy cause’ taught to them.

PM Modi has warned against the preachers of hate and violence on his tour of Africa. Interestingly, Dr Naik is also at present on his visit to the African countries for the next few weeks. Though the PM did not mention the name of Dr Naik in his speech in Kenya, it is a wake-up call for Muslims in the African countries.

There are many extremist preachers like Zakir Naik in the region who are threatening peace and pluralism in the African Muslim societies. Boko Haram’s jihadist influence in the region has caught the imagination of the young, poor and starving Nigerian Muslims. More and more young people are falling prey to the extremist Salafist sermons in mosques and religious gatherings in various African Muslim countries. A well-known radical Salafist preacher in Africa is Muhammad Al-Jazouli. This Sudan-based extremist cleric has delivered several speeches and Friday sermons (khutbas) justifying the wanton killing of non-combatant civilians including children and women, if they are kafir (infidel). In one of his Friday sermons, he provoked the Muslim youth to resort to violence and killing misguiding them with misinterpreted prophetic sayings (hadiths).

He stated: “Under Islam there is no distinction between combatants and civilians and thus infidel women and children can be harmed and even killed in the militant attacks.”

In his sermon, al-Jazouli quoted a hadith report attributed to the Prophet of Islam, clearly attempting to wrongly interpret the text of the hadith (Prophet’s sayings), the second source of Islamic teachings after the Quran. Just like the war-time verses of the Quran, many contextual sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are brazenly distorted and misused by the extremist Islamist preachers provoking violence, peddling hate, havoc, intolerance and misogynism.

More deplorably to Muslims, when al-Jazouli ended his vicious sermon, the herd of his blind followers loudly chanted: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar”, thus bringing collective humility to the entire global Muslims who don’t endorse this brazen violation of the moderate Islamic principles.

Surprisingly enough, young and naive Muslims in Africa are getting influenced by the hate preachers even when the moderate and spiritually-inclined Sufi scholars are committed to tackle the onslaught of the radicalization in the region. Only in Morocco, some 50,000 imams of mosques, after they showed the extremist Salafist influence, have been replaced. Modern youth in Algeria and Morocco are being trained to resist the Salafist extremism penetrating into the Muslim societies. A “Religious Guidance Support Plan” has been framed with scrutiny to closely monitor religious programmes on TV channels, Friday sermons and Islamic discourses delivered by the preachers and televangelists in the region.

According to Magharebia, an online Arabic media outlet covering the news of North Africa, some 1,300 senior imams and spiritual Islamic counselors were trained to prevent people who come in the mosques from all forms of Islamist discourses inciting religious bigotry and intolerance. Basically, the idea was to prepare the imams to preserve the universal values of Islam in the African mosques, based on the Sufi Islamic worldview which is contrary to the Salafi takfirism (declaring others disbeliever and apostate). The Islamic Affairs Minister of Morocco, Mr. Ahmed Toufiq once said that “takfirism is constantly invading the minds of our young people. Therefore, we seek to tackle all forms of continued exploitation of religion, with an aim to root out Takfirist ideology at its core.”

Despite this gigantic task being done by the moderate Muslims in the African countries, the extremist fringe of the Islamist preachers have been influential enough to lure the youth. Their success emanates from their skillful misinterpretation and indoctrination of the Quranic verses and hadith quotations cited out of context. Like Al-Jazouli did in his speech, nearly all extremist Islamist preachers extensively quote the medieval Islamic jurisprudential rulings, that too out of the context, preaching the ideology of puritanical fundamentalism which is antithetical to the moderate narrative of Islam. Zakir Naik went some steps ahead on his Peace TV. He did not only misinterpret the references from the holy Qur’an and hadith, but also coined quite new, nefarious and pernicious religious underpinnings in some of his speeches spewing venom. Here are a few quotations from his talks widely available on the internet:

“Quran allows Muslims to have sex with female slaves.”
“Bible has pornography, teaches how to rape and how to even gang-rape.”
“We (Muslims) know for sure that only Islam is the True religion in the eyes of God. … Therefore … we do not allow propagation of any other religion.”
“The only requirement for marriage in Islamic Sharia is that girl and boy both must attain the age of puberty that can occur at age 12, 11 or even 10.”

This is how a radical Salafist televangelist in India has been misguiding Muslim youth across the world, while at the same time, causing greater defamation to Islam than the Islamophobes, and tarnishing the image of Indian Muslims in the global media.

The author is a scholar of Comparative Religion, Classical Arabic and Islamic sciences, cultural analyst and researcher in Media and Communication Studies. Contact him at grdehlavi@gmail.com

Banned in Bangladesh and India: What’s wrong with Zakir Naik’s Peace TV:FirstPost

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi Jul 11, 2016 14:10 ISTfirstpost

Banned in Bangladesh and India: What's wrong with Zakir Naik's Peace TV

 

After the UK and Canada, two more democratic countries with an overwhelming number of moderate Muslims, India and Bangladesh have blocked the biggest source of radical Islamist televangelism in the region, Peace TV.

According to Dhaka Tribune, the mainstream Islamic scholars in Bangladesh had already demanded banning Peace TV last year calling it a misguiding channel (fitnah) for Muslims. But the government of Bangladesh has banned it now in the wake of the recent terror strikes in the country by those inspired by the controversial Islamist-Salafist preacher Zakir Naik.

On the similar grounds of inciting religious intolerance and violent extremism, India has also banned Peace TV. Naik’s talks and speeches have been declared ‘highly objectionable’ by the Government of India. After the Maharashtra government ordered an investigation into this issue, it has become patently clear that Peace TV is not licensed in the country and is uplinked from Dubai.

The Hindustan Times quoted the deputy secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Shankar Lal saying that he has issued a directive to officials to take action against channels airing the Peace TV.

Scores of news reports have shown that the content of the so-called Peace TV was conducive to inciting religious intolerance and that it is a Saudi-funded Salafist-Islamic channel in India.

Regrettably, the radicalization of Islamist televangelism has emerged as a serious threat to the global democratic societies with Muslim populace. It has communicated the exclusivist messages of radical Islamism more effectively than even the sizeable corpus of extremist jihadist literature. The Salafism-inspired Islamic TV channels have done an irreparable damage in the war-torn Middle Eastern societies perpetuating retrogressive religious thoughts furthering nefarious political ends. That it has taken roots in South Asia is a matter of grave concern for the peace-loving and pluralistic peoples of the region.

‘Islamic televangelism’ is defined as: “The use of the television medium to proselytize the audience and viewers and to earn the support for emerging movements and followings for the exhortations of Islamist preachers”. Ibrahim Saleh, a renowned Egyptian media scholar has carried out a seminal research work on Islamic televangelism in his book Islamic Televangelism: The Salafi Window to Their Paradise. He has expounded the radical effects of Salafist Islamic televangelism on the Muslim viewers particularly in the Middle East.

Though the advent of Islamic televangelism in India can be traced back to early 19th century, it gained momentum with the launching of Peace TV. Founded by the medical doctor-turned-preacher Zakir Naik, it is viewed as a Salafist Islamic channel catching the imagination of the new-age Muslims generation, especially those English-speaking.

Surprisingly enough, Peace TV channel has had a viewer base of up to 100 million people across the region. Since its inception in 2006, this Islamic TV channel had been telecast to more than 200 Muslim-populated countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and North America. It achieved huge popularity in the Muslim society within a short span of time launching its sister channels in other languages most notably in Urdu, Bangla, Telugu and Malayalam. Naik has called his TV an “edutainment channel”, because of the broadcast of religious sermons and talks for adults and youths, as well as educational programs for children.

Promoted by the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), a Mumbai-based Islamic NGO which was established by Naik in 1991, the channel’s content largely dealt with religious talks or sessions based on comparative religious studies as guided by himself. Regrettably, the channel aired inflammatory talks in respect to Hindus, Jews and Christians, and even the Sufis and Shias, calling them qabr parast (grave worshippers) and thus mushrik and kafir (polytheist and infidel).

It is noteworthy that this kind of exclusivism is common among the Salafist televangelists across the world. Ibrahim Saleh has noted in his research that most of the Salafi televangelists harbour an exclusivist, anti-Semetic and anti-Western views. They are not only antithetical to Jews, Christians and people of other religions, but they also abhor the moderate, pluralistic and multicultural values of Islam.

Saleh writes: “In spite of the wide range of countries, languages, religions, and cultures in the region, Salafi television channels have consistently projected a shared common interest in scrutinizing ‘otherness’ in thought, ideology, and religion. Hence, it is not surprising that the list includes Christians, Jews, ‘Westerners’, and even proponents of moderate Islam. These channels have claimed the authority to speak for Islam. They operate in a region where there is collective frustration over economic disparities and a loss of faith in political systems. This situation has favoured the making of a public space for fundamentalist groups to use these collective anxieties as a pretext for mobilizing members, developing bureaucratic organizations, and formulating policy alternatives.”

Since Naik is on record for his extremist, exclusivist and misogynistic utterances that have potential to inspire violent extremism, several democratic countries including the UK, Canada, India and Bangladesh have banned Peace TV broadcasts since 2012.

In this connection, I would like to reproduce the research findings that the Office of Communications (Ofcom) of the UK had brought out in 2011. Ofcom is the British government’s regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries. It was the first broadcasting regulator to investigate the programmes aired onPeace TV containing extremist messages. The investigation which was initiated in 2011 resulted in a candid exposition of how various programmes on Peace TV have labeled people of other faiths, particularly Jews and Christians, as ‘arch enemies of Islam’.

In the wake of this finding, an Ofcom spokesman said: “We will not tolerate extremism on British television, and transgressors will be dealt with.” Hannah Stuart, of the UK-based Centre of Social Cohesion, commented that “to allow Zakir Naik to continue broadcasting here makes a mockery of that decision.”

Not to speak of other religious communities, Muslims have faced more baffling problems with this radical televangelism. The laws of apostasy (irtidad) had serious repercussions in the medieval Islamic jurisprudence. But they are still implemented and misused in several Muslim countries, most frequently in Pakistan. The punishment sentenced to an apostate Muslim is nothing short of death. The most deplorable part is that any Muslim can be declared apostate, even on the false charges of kufr (disbelief), shirk (polytheism), ilhad (heresy) etc. Regrettably, Peace TV, despite being run from the country of moderate Islam endorsed this medieval practice prevailing in Pakistan. It broadcasted pernicious theological arguments in its support in a regular programme entitled Dare to Ask on 8 March, 2012.

Answering a related question, Zakir Naik stated the following: “One group of scholars say that if a Muslim becomes a non-Muslim, he should be put to death. There is another group of scholars who say that if a Muslim becomes a non-Muslim and propagates his new faith against Islam, then he should be put to death. I tend to agree more with the second group of scholars, who say that if a Muslim becomes a non-Muslim and propagates his new faith against Islam, that is the time this penalty is applied.”

This is precisely why Zakir Naik has been barred from the UK, Canada and other liberal and democratic countries. An array of anti-pluralism and extremist messages that have gone viral through his Peace TV programmes brazenly violate the democratic and liberal ethos.

Common Indian Muslims have been blind adherents of their religious preachers strictly abiding by their exhortations in social and religious affairs. Therefore, Islamic preachers and televangelists create a deep and lasting impact on them. And this can work for both- radicalisation or de-radicalisation of the society.

Muslim televangelists who stress the essential and egalitarian messages of Islam; universal brotherhood, pluralism and moderation in faith, work wonder in societal peace-building. Contrary to them, extremist fringes of the Islamist televangelists misuse this opportunity to peddle religious bigotry. Their politically motivated sermons wrongly influence the young gullible Muslims worsening their worldview. In fact, much of the inter-faith and inter-sect conflicts in the Muslim countries are directly or indirectly resulting from the extremist religious sermons spewing hatred and intolerance. In this situation, we need to take cognizance of this contagious peril looming large in the Muslim world, taking inroads in the Indian Muslim society now.

Zakir Naik and Salafism: Why Islamic scholars can dismantle influence of extremist theology:Firstpost

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi Jul 14, 2016 17:39 ISTfirstpost

Zakir Naik and Salafism: Why Islamic scholars can dismantle influence of extremist theology

The radical televangelist Zakir Naik has cancelled his media interaction on Thursday for the third time. It came as a surprise to many who have viewed him fiercely debating with the leaders of other faiths, loudly proclaiming numerous supremacist and incendiary statements.
But when it came to the clarification of his objectionable and widely debated utterances calling for religious bigotry, communal disharmony, puritanical fundamentalism, ideological extremism and his misogynist and chauvinistic sermons, he seems to back out.
The controversial Salafist preacher, who is currently on a lecture tour in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Africa addressing large Muslim gatherings, was supposed to appear in front of the media in Mumbai via video-conference, after the IRF managed to get a venue on Wednesday. But the supporters and the official spokespersons of the IRF maintain that they are not getting any venue to address the media in Mumbai. “At least four venues, including three five-star hotels and the World Trade Centre (WTC), had declined permission for conducting his press conference via Skype,” they told the media.
Of late, an official spokesperson of Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), as reported in The Indian Express, has told: “It is very difficult to do a press conference. We will announce another conference soon. Naik himself is willing to come and share information with people.”
However, if the case is believed to be so, the question arises: why is Naik himself not coming back home for easier access to the questioners and critics, from both the media and the Indian Muslim intelligentsia? No date of Naik returning to India has been fixed. The IRF spokesperson just keeps repeating, “We can expect him back in India very soon. Though for now we don’t have any fixed date.”
Moreover, one wonders why Naik hasn’t come for a direct interaction with the media and several scholars who have critiqued his flawed understanding of Islam. He insists on speaking only in his own press conference organised by the IRF, as his expertise lies only in his pre-planned and well-worked-out public speaking. Is it his ‘unwillingness’ or ‘inability’ to face the Indian media, journalists and the well-established classical Islamic scholars asking him direct straightforward questions?
Remarkably, the mainstream Indian Islamic scholars have posed pertinent and unavoidable questions to Naik. Most of them are related to his retrogressive, chauvinistic and inflammatory statements on Osama-bin-Laden, Muslims and terrorism, ban on propagation of all other religions except Islam, sex slavery, laws of apostasy in Islam, child marriage, destruction of cultural and religious structures such as the Buddhas of Bamiyan, desecration of the Prophet’s tomb and declaring all ‘others’ mushrik (polytheist) and kafir (non-believers). All these questions need to be answered point by point, clause by clause.
The basic question that must not be overlooked is that why Naik has been trying to lure the Indian Muslims, anchored in an age-old traditional Sufi Islam, into professing and practicing the pernicious theology of Salafism, a theology that has inspired the self-imposed caliphate of Daesh or the so-called Islamic state creating mayhem and calamity to all those against the terror outfit. “The ideology of Daesh (IS) comes from our own books, our own principles; we follow the same thought-Salafism,” said Shaikh Aadel Al-Kalbani, former imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and a Salafist preacher himself. He has confessed the link between the Salafist theology and the jihadist atrocities being perpetrated by the Islamic States militants in many of his writings and talks. In an interview with MBC, a Dubai-based TV channel, he openly states that the Salafist ideas are what he believes as the roots of the ISIS’ extremism. In his video, which is now uploaded on YouTube channel, Shaikh al-Kalbani admitted: “We follow the same thought as the Daesh, but apply it in a refined way”…… “They [ISIS] draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, from our own principles.”
Shaikh Al-Kalbani has also written two articles in the Saudi daily Arabic newspaper Al-Riyadh criticising the Salafi ulema’s approach towards the subject of Islam and violence in a style which justifies the killing of the opponents. He also candidly exposed the Saudi Salafist clergy who don’t have courage of conviction to speak out the truth. In another televised interview, Shaikh Al-Kalbani has admitted in clear, unambiguous and unequivocal words that: “ISIS is a true product of Salafism, and we must deal with it with full transparency.”
Perhaps, Shaikh al-Kalbani is the first Salafist imam who has debunked the common perception surrounding in several sections of the Muslim community that ‘ISIS is a creature of the western intelligence agencies’. But he challenged it saying: “the ideology behind Daesh is the Salafist thought that many Muslims follow, but the only disagreement is with the way in which that ideology is acted out from a public relations perspective”.
In fact, the theology of Salafist jihadism (al-slafiyah al-jihadiah) is entirely based on its founder-ideologue Imam Ibn-e-Taymiyyah’s religious and jurisprudential justifications of violent extremism. No wonder then, the online English mouthpiece of the Daesh, called Dabiq, quotes the writings and fatwas of Ibn Taymiyyah while justifying its terror atrocities. A dangerous religious decree of Ibn Taymiyyah called “fatwa maar deen” has been extensively quoted by the jihadist ideologues of all the previous times. It has also been quoted in Dabiq (Issue 7, page no. 21). I suffice to only one sentence of this extremist fatwa: “The basis of religion is a guiding book and a supporting sword” (Majm’u al-Fatawa).
Now it should be no surprise why the global Salafist jihadists-from Al Qaeda to IS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, Harka-tul- Jihad wal-Hijrah, Jabhat-ul-Nasrah, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan etc.-are avowedly spreading their ‘religion’ and the ‘guiding book’ with a supporting sword, playing havoc across much of the world.
At a time when the Salafism-inspired preachers and televangelists like Naik, massively funded by the Saudi largesse, are influencing a large section of the gullible Muslim youth in India, I wonder why we Indian Muslims should not concern ourselves with this imminent threat. Let us not forget the influence of the same ferocious Salafi-Wahhabi thought playing out in the attack on the famous Sufi Qawwal Amjad Sabri recently killed in our neighboring country, Pakistan. Clearly, his brutal killing was not an ordinary terror incident. It was a part of the ideological war on the Sufi culture of Qawwali, which is viewed as haram (religiously forbidden) in the doctrine of Salafis-Wahhabis. Similarly, they declare seeking the spiritual blessings from the Prophet (pbuh) tantamount to shirk (associating someone with God), the gravest offense in the Islamic sharia leading to the capital punishment in an Islamic state. The late Amjad Sabri was targeted by the self-styled jihadist murderours because he would openly indulge in something which was ‘shirk’ in their faith. He used to seek blessings from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his famous Sufi Qawwali which goes like this: “bhar do gholi meri ya Muhammad….laut ke main na jaunga khali… (O’ Prophet, (pbuh) grant me your blessings, I will not go empty-handed).
Being a Salafist preacher, Zakir Naik and his staunch ideological supporters also consider the Sufi singers beyond the pale of Islam, because ‘they indulge in ‘haram’ and ‘shirk’ by singing Qawwali and seeking blessings from prophets and saints, other than God’. In a public speech aired on his Peace TV, Naik went on record overtly attacking such Sufis, saying that, “aaj ke dau men Muhammad (pbuh) se bhi mangna shirk hai, in fakiron aur babaon ki baat to choro” (It’s an act of shirk to seek blessings even from Muhammad pbuh in this age, let alone the Sufi saints and holy men).
Clearly, this is the ideological nexus between the pernicious and exclusivist theology of takfirism and the attack on the Sufi and Shia individuals.
Regrettably, Naik has often denigrated the Sufi practitioners tagging them “qabr parast” (shrine-worshippers) likening their ‘shirk’ to the ‘Hindu idolatry’ (but parasti). The direct result of this sectarian indoctrination is that Naik’s blind followers tacitly support the killing of the Sufi practitioners like Amjad Sabri in Pakistan, calling it “a fitting punishment to the idolaters”. While the mainstream Sufi-Sunni Muslims in India commemorated Sabri’s demise as that of a martyr and strongly condemned the terror attack on him, not a single Salafi preacher came out to speak in unison.
It is about time not only the media and journalists but also the progressive Indian Islamic scholars, particularly ulema, will have to confront Zakir Naik, questioning him on his blatant attempts to twist the Islamic doctrines misinterpreting the Qur’anic verses and hadith (prophetic tradtions) to further the nefarious Salafist ends in India.