KUALA LUMPUR: Controversial Islamic scholar Dr Zakir Naik has denied allegations that he is a terrorist, amid investigations against him for terrorism in India.
He said those who accuse him of being a terrorist could be “terrorists” themselves. Those who inflicted the perception of terrorism on the human mind could be considered “terrorists”, he added.
“I have never been part of any rebellion or conducted terrorist acts against humans all my life. I only deliver a message of peace to people,” he told a Malay daily in an interview published recently.
Zakir said those who make baseless allegations against him are from “certain quarters who do not want peace in this world”.
The India-born televangelist is currently on the run from Indian authorities who are mulling terror charges against him, reportedly based on testimony from about 50 terror suspects and convicts, recorded in various jails, who cited the medical doctor as their motivation and source of inspiration.
Zakir has previously voiced support for Al Qaeda jihadists and Osama bin Laden and, in a 2006 lecture, he called for “every Muslim to be a terrorist”.
The Salafist preacher’s inflammatory speeches have caused him to be banned from at least two countries: the United Kingdom and Canada.
In Nov last year, the Times of India reported that the Indian government has imposed a five-year ban on Zakir’s non-governmental organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation.
His lectures on religion in Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu and Malacca last year also sparked an uproar from various quarters, including the ruling Barisan Nasional component parties, after the authorities and the government allowed the preacher to continue with his speaking engagements.
Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has even defended Zakir, describing him as a “very wise man”. And the Terengganu state government last year offered him land to set up an Islamic research centre.
Zakir told the Malay daily that he is ready to go to court, provided it is at an international or Malaysian court, but he did not state his reasons for it.
He also said he rejected Terengganu’s land offer.
“I can’t accept it. I’ve received similar offers from other countries, but I did not accept them,” he said.
“I’m worried that if I should accept the offer here, other countries would feel offended. I don’t want my good relations with these countries to be affected just because of this.” AGENCIES
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