Well, well – more developments in the ongoing feud of Zakir Naik versus Malaysians everywhere.
Earlier today, the beleaguered televangelist issued what we can best describe as the public relations classic of “sorry if you were offended” mea culpa beloved of ego maniacs the world over.
Seemingly unaware that he had offended both Malaysian Muslims and non-Muslims alike, he told a video camera, and gave a statement, that he was saddened that his recent speech had caused non-Muslims to think of him as racist.
Instead, he countered that he was actually, in case you totally missed it, a man of peace.
“This is what the Qur’an stands for. It has been my mission to spread peace throughout the world,” he said.
“Even though I have clarified myself, I feel I owe an apology to everyone who feels hurt because of this misunderstanding. I do not want any of you to harbor ill feelings towards me.
“It was never my intention to upset any individual or community. It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding,” he added.
Zakir maintains that his statements regarding Chinese Malaysians as “old guests” who should leave the country to make room for new guests such as himself, and that Malaysian Hindus were more loyal to Indian PM Narendra Modi than our own leader, were taken out of context.
We’d like to remind you that a video recording exists of the incident, in case you wanted a refresher:
Bearing this in mind, his statement continues:
“It worries me because the ones who are hurt have not heard my speeches but based their impressions on out-of-context quotes of me.
“That is a cause of concern for me because it brings harm to the image of Islam and serves to drive people away from it. Racism is an evil I am staunchly against, as is the Quran, and it is the exact opposite of everything I stand for as an Islamic preacher,” he said.
“I would like to make a humble appeal to all of you, especially to the non-Muslims. Please take out time to listen to my speeches in their entirety,” he said, before plugging his channel banned in India, Peace TV, along with their app.
Zakir may have to find more ways to drive traffic to his online rhetoric, as Malaysian police announced today that he is now barred from giving public talks anywhere in the country.
Police confirmed that the move was made “in the interest of national security, and to preserve racial harmony.”
Yesterday, we reported that seven states – Melaka, Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Sarawak – had all banned the controversial televangelist, with Sarawak denying him entry to the state all together.
Zakir is a Malaysian permanent resident, having been granted the status by the previous administration, and was already a controversial guest before his inflammatory statements caused Malaysians far and wide to demand his removal.
Several high-profile ministers have joined these calls, and Zakir has responded to their criticisms by filing police reports against Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran, Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy, former ambassador Dennis Ignatius and Klang MP Charles Santiago. Serving them with legal paperwork, he is demanding they retract and apologize for their statements.
A hero of our time, LGBTQ+ supporting, child marriage hatin’, Klang MP Charles Santiago has said that he stands by his statements, and welcomes any action by Zakir “to enable [him] to justify and prove to the court that his speech in Kelantan is highly toxic, inflammatory and could cause religious and racial unrest in our multicultural society.
I have received a letter of demand from Dr. Zakir Naik’s lawyer claiming that I have defamed him.
I hereby reiterate that I stand by my statement and will not tender any apologies to Dr. Naik.https://t.co/8MQvrhm03e
— Charles Santiago (@mpklang) August 19, 2019
Meanwhile, India has had warrants out for Zakir’s arrest since 2016, alleging money laundering and hate speech intended to incite extremism.
One thing’s for certain — this guy REALLY does not want to go back to India.
This article, Zakir Naik issues apology to non-Muslims for being offended, banned from public speaking in Malaysia, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!