Malaysia: Using Zakir Naik for Politics

April 16, 2016

Malaysia: Using Zakir Naik for Politics

by Cmdr (rtd) S. Thayaparan

People who change their religion should face the death penalty.”– Zakir Naik

What do Prime Minster Najib Abdul Razak and the so-called Muslim intellectual Zakir Naik have in common? The answer is simple, contemporary and demonstrative of the reality of Islam as opposed to the assertion that it is a religion of peace. Both have received recognition by the Saudi government for “service to Islam”.

In Najib’s case, the recognition came in the form of a “donation” which was subsequently returned or was it through intermediaries or shell companies or complex financial legerdemain… I have lost track on exactly how our Prime Minister received the monies for “defending Islam” from the House of Saud.

Zakir, on the other hand, “was one of five recipients of the King Faisal International Prize from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman”. Apparently the prize is awarded to those who work in the “service of Islam”. Zakir, the well-known Indian Muslim (sic), is controversial only to those who think that his rhetoric, which is often times mendacious, hypocritical and prone to confabulations, is at odds with any kind of rationality.

If you are familiar with mainstream Islam, and I do not mean the “moderate Islam” that is propagated by Western Muslims or Muslims who reside in the West and used by middle path indigenous Muslims as political rhetoric in multi-religious societies, then what Zakir says is harmonious with what Muslims believe in most parts of the world.

However even the dissonance of how Islam is practiced here in Malaysia, would take someone like Zakir by surprise. Extremists are often surprised by the virulence of their own beliefs. Take for instance the recent approved Home Ministry ruling that “barred the publication and reading of the Muslim holy book in non-Arabic languages, saying it was against the law unless accompanied by Arabic text.”

Najib the Wolf of WSJ

Listen to what Harussani Zakaria, chairperson of the Home Ministry’s Al-Quran Printing, Control and Licensing Board, said – “the Quran was first written in Arabic and must be kept in that form” – asserting too that anyone who read the original scriptures would reap spiritual rewards even without understanding them.

Think about this for a minute. People like Harrussani and Zakir often remind people that they should not comment on Islam without first doing research on the religion or consulting with “religious” scholars, and here we have someone like Harussani claiming that blindly reciting religious text in a language that one is not familiar with or even comprehending, will reap, spiritual rewards.

So what kind of intellectuals, “internal” or otherwise, are they exposing young Muslims to? Is there any need for Muslim scholars or intellectuals, when according to Harussani spiritual rewards are possible without understanding or hard work but with blind recitation in a foreign tongue?

Hidayah Centre Foundation Programme Director Abu Shariz Sharajoon Hoda who organised the conference, which has received flak from the numerous Hindu/Indian (sic) groups opposed to the idea that a bigot like Zakir should be given a platform here in Malaysia, claimed “non-Muslims have opportunities to come and ask questions, and openly clear their doubts first hand… don’t have to go through speculations on social media which are untrue.”

This is quaint considering the fact that anyone with access to an internet connection can interact with Zakir through his numerous social media platforms. Furthermore, why should non-Muslims have to wait for an opportunity to clear their doubts or ask questions about Islam with this bigot? Why can’t we ask questions and engage in debate through the various media available in our so-called democratic country?

The answer is simple of course. We non-Muslims are constantly reminded that we should “not interfere” with Islam, even though Islam interferes in our lives. Malays are constantly reminded that Islam needs defending.

Not a fan of pluralism

Which is why Isma (Malaysian Muslim Solidarity) carries a comment piece, titled ‘Aren’t liberals the most hypocrite?’ (the title is amusing on various levels but I digress…), where an extremist position is used as example to propagate free speech and point to “liberal hypocrisy”.

“An interfaith dialogue by Dr Zakir Naik doesn’t set a middle ground so that a win-win situation can be achieved by all religions. As a matter of fact, he’d established Islam as the true and only religion so brilliantly that others might seem to be swayed (read: threatened) by it.

“And that’s why liberals are not so fond of him, as he doesn’t promote pluralism as most of interfaith dialogues organised by them are doing. When it doesn’t work the way that they wanted, they’ll go all out to ban it altogether and in this case, use all means to have it prevented from happening.”

Conveniently leaving out the point that if any other religious adherents, say Christians, Hindus or Buddhists, who made the same claim, would be charged with sedition, treason, insulting the monarchy and the numerous other state-sanctioned mechanism created to “defend Islam”.

Muslims who find succour in the words of Zakir, and according to the likes of Isma, Amanah and PAS, are legion, have always had a problem with free speech. Which is why Harakah can pontificate in an op-ed piece ‘Hidupkan budaya berdialog. Bukan hentam-manghentam’ and at the same time fail to acknowledge all the times that they have waged war on free speech and expression in defence of their religion.

Moreover, waging war is what the likes of Zakir and his ilk do. Zakir may run a well-received propaganda media channel mendaciously named ‘Peace TV’ but the reality is that he and his adherents understand that it is really about domination and control.

The language is there for all to see.So-called Islamic intellectuals like Isma get their knickers in a twist when the Zakir conference is banned or cancelled, retracting their claim Najib is a war general – “At a time when Muslims, who form the majority in Malaysia, are faced with numerous attacks, Najib who is supposedly the ‘war general’ remains quiet” – propagating the state-sponsored meme that Islam is under threat from the non-Muslims.

In other words, Najib is perceived as a war general against a specific racial and religious demographic that he supposedly claims to represent. All this because of a scholar, who has proven to be a demagogue, charlatan and peddler of hate.

Should Zakir be banned? We should not even have to ask this question.Anyway, anyone reading my work for Malaysiakini, would know what my answer to that question, would be.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

28 thoughts on “Malaysia: Using Zakir Naik for Politics

  1. I encourage Malaysia to consider separate religion from politics (in USA, it is called church and state be separated).

  2. The likes of Zakir Naik and Ridhuan Tee proves Islam is hegemonistic and fundamentally mass delusion. It’s the refuge of desperate and sociophatic – an extremely potent combination

  3. Like I keep saying… if we allow cave dwellers to call the shots we should expect this sort of stuff… and much more is on the way…

  4. Almost all Religions and their leaders/preachers have been used by those in political/corporate leaderships since the religions were first established and in return religious leaders/preachers have used those in power in politics/corporate for own benefit when they realized that the ‘fear of the Almighty’ can be used to influence the political/corporate leaders. A good example is tax exemptions on its collections/assets/revenues and donations from the corporate sector.

    Benefit from opportunities when realization comes.

  5. Giving a talk on the similarities of Hinduism and Islam is considered bigotry?How about the spokesman of Hindu Sangam that stated that even though Zakir Naik is well versre with Hindu holy texts,heis not a practicing Hindu and therefore not qualified to give a talk relating to Hinduism.But here an ex navy man who I assume is a Hindu is qualified to give a lecture on Islam.Isnt that qualify as a hypocrisy too and deem to be interfering in the lives of Muslim?I guess we are not much different at all especially in our hypocrisy.

  6. When religion is misused or abused as a cover for politicians and institutional leaders for their hypocrisy and deceit in advancing personal agendas and profits, religion has lost its true values and progressive benefits to humanity.

    Invariably, it leads to slavery to the religion (here Islam),hence to the leaders, who had “Lord” over it for decades. This is unconstitutional in Malaysia’s Westminster democratic parliamentary system. Leaders, including Najib, should consider seriouly to reject and discourage such regresive participation or association.

  7. Perhaps Zakir Naik should look at what happen in his country. Go to gujarat and preach there, you Zakir Naik

    Who was responsible for this chaos? Hahahahaha

    Never shake hand with Modi

  8. Saudi Arabia exports Islamic wahabbism-a belief in non-tolerance to any other religion. I have seen Saudi money slowly changing the Islamic landscape in Indonesia and Malaysia to be non-tolerant to other religions. The CIA and a host of other international intelligence agencies are aware of their plots to change Islam to that which encourages militancy. Razak will reap what he sows when they turn against him-and Rosmah will be riding a camel. Mosques in the 1960s were places where non-Muslims could go, today its very different.

  9. US wants other countries to adopt the democratic form of government which had divided the world formats. Muslim countries want their own interpretation of Islam resulting in conflicts among some Muslim countries/populations with some being Shia while others being Sunni as is happening in Saudi-Iran-Pakistan-etc and each wants its own type to be supreme and even making it illegal in some countries.
    Christianity was spread via conquest of many countries whereas Islam was also spread by traders and by violence of Mogul invaders in India.

    Democracy is supposed to be fair to all and religions are supposed to bring peace to all but to-day inequality of income/wealth is the highest in countries including in democratic countries and in-house conflicts/violence is highest in countries which put more emphasis on religions and these conflicts have been ongoing for decades..

  10. King Saud

    For the last 40years the Saud’s family has been the agent of CIA.Do you really think that Saudi regime is so brave to create all these jihadis without the American backing?They wouldnt last long without this backing and shown by their incompetence in trying to defeat the Huthis in Yemen in several occassions.

    You are also wrong to state that Non Muslims are not allow to visit mosques.Just google and see pictures of Hannah Yeoh and DAP cadres in the mosque.When I was visiting Indis in the 90s,Non Hindus were not allowed to enter the temples and we were only allowed to see them on the outside only.

  11. People who change their religion should face the death penalty.”– Zakir Naik

    Zakir Naik is making the above declaration but what is his view of children of those who converted centuries ago?

    This may be applicable to him as he may also be a descendant of a convert as may be evident from history when Islam came to India with the Moguls who used the sword to get converts.

    What would be his view on conversions to Christianity which was done mainly by economic incentives and Buddhism from those who were being pressed?

    I am not making any comment on Sikhism as there is little evidence of conversions to Sikhism by means which may be ‘violence’ or ‘economic incentives. However there are some Sikhs who have converted out of Sikhism for ‘economic’ or marriage reasons.

  12. King,
    I am not sure about you. I am tickled over Zakir’s courage. Perhaps, he should preach in Gujarat again. Or why not tell Nahendra Modi that he feared Allah and not him…….hahahahaha

    Hindu Power! Hindu Power!

    See how the Historical Babri Mosque razed to ground by Hindu extremists. Where were Zakir Naik? He should preach Islam to them……..hahahaha

    Zakir Naik……..Where were you then?

  13. Quote:- “if we allow cave dwellers to call the shots we should expect this sort of stuff….”

    Good point.

    But only Muslims themselves could and have the god-given right to send these cave dwellers back to the cave. The problem, I think, is that the non-cave dwelling Muslims are too tolerant, or perhaps even afraid to criticize for fear of being seen as supportive of the western infidels….a self-imposed “sin”?

  14. The government got a respite and threw a bait. all of a sudden issue of financial mis-appropriation etc has dissappered. All malay/muslim or believers are now united with the government and in defence against the rest ie fakir/the lost/misguided. I must say it is a very deft move. look at this and everywhere in fb. Zakir is next big thing be it for or against. So what happens to a government who is continuously stealing and not delivering, all forgotten right.

  15. For something more ‘cerebral’ loosebrain, try ‘Thinking’, so as not to fan the flames? I thought you were a Christian – who should know better than to do that?

    In which case, you should bring up vids by Ravi Zacharias, the Indian (born in Chennai) American-Canadian Christian Apologist? This Naik flur will ‘quail’ debating someone like that, who has polish, extremely well read, erudite and humble. Unfortunately, he learned his ‘Tricks’ from that rubbish demagogue and very dead Deedat, who in turn tried but failed to be the ‘Billy Graham’ of Islam.

    For Jibros and his Motley Crue to label this Joke as a ‘Special’ Human Being, is an insult to all those of us who have an IQ of 85 above and average EQ. Is it a wonder, why they are so desperate? No wonder the Nons are Islamophobic..

    Here’s something from Sir Sri Ravi Shankar:

  16. Awww looes74, you missed the chance to post the Zakir Naik rebuttal video “25 Mistakes in 5 Minutes” here. You can find it easily on Youtube though. My favourite bit is when he starts pulling out names of RANDOM people out of thin air (“Sir Whitemeat”) to support his arguments. Makes me want to go and attend one of his talks just for the (unintentional) laughs. Mind you, good comedy is hard to find these days.

  17. If so good, go n talk in those countries that muslims are killing each others. If so good, go n talk to the muslims not to seek refugees in non muslims countries.

  18. This Indiaman is now saying that an UMNOb and PAS alliance will propel the country further and strengthen Islam (sic). That very statement right there, is evidence that this guy doesn’t have an intelligent cell in his body.

  19. ‘This Indiaman is now saying’

    He should probably and more accurately be referred to as a Muslim first as nothing he says portrays him as an Indian.

  20. Conrad

    Zakir Naik is not the guy that will bring all the Malay parties together and possibly another May 13 but it will be the result of uncontrolled Islamophobia from the like of Loose Screw here.When that finally happens ,just like Lamoy’s story of 1969 everybody will lament but its too late.I havent followed much of Zakir Naik lectures but from what I have seen ,he is not degrading the religions but he is telling basically that if the followers of Islam,Christianity and Hinduism were to follow their Holy Books,we are the same as far as faith is concerned but we deviate because we follow the Ustazs and priests instead and therefore becomes divided.The only problem is that sometimes he sounded cocky.

  21. “..another May 13..” Abd J

    Not possible unless state sanctioned. Crafted by Jibros-Zahoo 3-Line RedShirters. The economy and ringgit will tank even faster and Jibros will never get outta of their self inflicted scandal and hubris. We’d be left with the aborted fetus filled with maggots!

    Conrad has a point in that UMNOb cannot merge and fuse with PAS. It’s not a meiotic-mitotic fusion problem like a sperm with egg – simply becuz their self anointed (messiah) leaders are playing footsie with each other. The grassroots will definitely rebel against their geng leaders since their periok nasi – for UMNOb hacks, contracts and cash; and PAS, the tepid temporal soul of simple folk – will be diluted. How will they divide out the rural seats? That Adenan Jabba the Hutt, is up to his no-neck trying to sort it out.

    Even the lap-mongrels are whining and threatening to commit suicide..

    I think folk like you are rational and less prone to jingoism. But that Naik fella is really helping to ‘Turun’ the maruah of even good Muslims. The truly Faithful are those who follow the Path of Enlightenment and Peace, not the Path of Pride, False Submission and Self-Promotion. Watch Ravi Shankar, and you know what i mean..

  22. Abdul Jalil,

    Loosebrains and Zakir are spiritually – forgive my atheistic transgression -similar. I’m familiar with the proselytizing of Zakir and can confirm he degrades other Religions in an attempt to publicize the superiority of his own.

    That’s the way how these preacher folk do it.

    A rational religious person is secure in his or her faith and finds very little mana from running down other religions but more importantly faith.

    What I do have a problem with is the privileged position of Zakir’s speech because of the provisions (sic) of race and religion in this country and the fighting with one hand tied behind their backs of Zakir’s opponents, which is expected by those Malays who value his (Zakir’s) words of wisdom.

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