Retain Zakir Naik’s event
or lose

THE call (or decision, as the case may be) to ban Zakir Naik’s forum entitled ‘Similarities between Hinduism and Islam’ is regrettable and questionable. One would ask, why would such banning be necessary or what causes would possibly deem such decision as necessary and appropriate?

The infamous call against the coming of Zakir Naik by DAP, MIC and Hindraf representatives do not really give us too much of a trick to figure out why. The call should not even arise at the first place. Unfortunately, all these noises caused PDRM to issue the latest statement that the aforementioned forum is to be banned in the name of public interest.

First of all, basing their proposition that Zakir Naik is not welcomed in two out of hundreds of countries throughout the globe seems to provide a binding stand on Malaysia, or so they thought.

Though the substances and topics discussed may be in some instances sensitive and provocative, a professional and knowledgeable preacher in comparative religions like Zakir Naik is much aware of it more than we do, and the way he excellently delivers his answers in response to those provocative questions are skills and experience which we should be dying to learn from in order to strive for what Islam actually asks us to achieve, among others harmony and professional intellectual discourse.

Even Obama is openly welcomed in Malaysia by the liberalists and secularists when in fact he is the real father of terrorism and degrading human values. They even had a close-up meeting with his agents about the progress of human rights activism and liberalization in this so called Islamic country which appears to be an insult to our Constitution.

Secondly, let us refer to the forum which is directed to be banned by PDRM. As the title says, the word therein is ‘similarities’. All these while the liberalists, secularists or interfaith organizations have been working very hard despite being hypocrites to promote the notion of interfaith dialogues, mutual understanding and seeking for common interests. They claim that it is a must thing to have in this diversified nation and this is unsurprisingly supported by some Muslim groups in the name of ‘rahmatan lil ‘alamin’.

However, I regretfully do not see any words in the title purporting to promote the opposite of that ideal which they strive for, as if the word ‘similarities’ is not overwhelmingly enough for the public to perceive the inevitable understanding of harmony between races and religions. Isn’t that what we collectively aim for in this diversified nation? How is it going to be focusing on differences, adverse thoughts or even causing rifts among different races and religions?

This is somehow similar to that which happened with the organizing of a forum entitled ‘Ancaman Gerakan Kristianisasi’ in one of the local institutions. The title clearly stated ‘ancaman gerakan’ not ‘ancaman’ from our ordinary Christian neighbour or colleague. Over emphasis on the title rather than the substantive value of the forum is getting absurd these days and recent event especially on Zakir Naik’s forum on similarities is incomprehensible and much more astounding.

Thirdly, if liberalists or secularists appear to be in favour, or silently agree to the statement by PDRM, then we know that they do not in essence strive for harmony, similarity and mutual co-existence other than for themselves and their own ideologies.

It seems that a platform for understanding and engagement is only a right for the liberals which if denied, would be deemed as a grave infringement of a right provided under the Constitution, as they claim it.

Recent events have proven to us that even the public authorities bow to the demands of liberalists and secularists and they have blatantly obstructed justice which the religious authority aim to achieve when what is considered as a public event in a public domain involving transgenders was raided last week.

Therefore, I urge the authorities to reconsider the decision. Even though it may appear as being in the public interest or well being which ironically consists of a majority Muslims, the decision to ban such forums would be a triumph for the liberalists and secularists. Retain Zakir Naik’s events or lose.

Danial Ariff bin Shaari

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