KUALA LUMPUR: Controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik has apologised to non-Muslims for causing hurt to them over his recent remarks, which he said was “taken out of context”.
The Mumbai born preacher said although he had clarified his stance to the police, he nevertheless felt he owed an apology to everyone who felt hurt because of the “misunderstanding”.
“It saddens me that this entire episode had caused many non-Muslims to think of me as a racist.
“It also worries me because the ones who are hurt had not heard my speeches but had based their impressions on out-of-context quotes of me.
“Even though I had clarified myself, I feel I owe an apology to everyone who feel hurt because of this misunderstanding.
“I do not want any of you to harbour ill feelings for me. It was never my intention to upset any individual or community,” he said in a statement today.
Zakir stressed that he has always been a man of peace because that's what the Quran stands for.
“It has been my mission to spread peace throughout the world. Unfortunately, I do face detractors who try to prevent me from carrying out my mission.
“As you must have noticed for the past few days, I have been accused of causing racial discord in the country and my detractors have been using selective sentences taken out of context and adding strange fabrications into them.”
Zakir added that he was against racism and was concerned about the episode as it has brought harm to the image of Islam.
“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.
“Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said in his farewell pilgrimage, ‘No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, nor is a non-Arab superior to an Arab. A white person is not superior to a black, nor is a black person superior to a white’,” he said.
Police called Zakir in to record his statement last Friday and yesterday over his alleged remarks.
He is being probed under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.
Following his remarks, police opened an investigation paper after a total of 115 police reports were lodged against him.
Zakir had threatened to sue a number of elected representatives as well as a former envoy for defamation for their comments against him.
He has since demanded Human Resources Minister M.Kulasegaran; Penang deputy chief minister P.Ramasamy, Klang member of parliament Charles Santiago; Bagan Dalam state assemblyman Satees Muniandy and former Malaysian envoy to Chile and Argentina Dennis J. Ignatius to withdraw their statements.
Zakir said their defamatory statements against him was widely published by news portals Free Malaysia Today, Malaysiakini, Facebook and other social media platforms.
He alleged the statements were made between Aug 11 and Aug 13.
Zakir, who was granted permanent resident status by the previous Malaysian government, is wanted in his home country, India, for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism.
Meanwhile, the Federal police has issued a directive to its state contingents nationwide to bar Zakir from taking part in public talks.
The directive was issued by Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Mazlan Mansor, here, today.
The matter was confirmed by the Inspector-General of Police Secretariat corporate communications head Datuk Asmawati Ahmad who said the order dated Aug 15 was issued on the basis of national security.
"All state police chiefs had been instructed to advise any party to cancel their programme which planned to include Dr Zakir Naik.
"All activities involving Dr Zakir Naik at states involving the respective (police) contingents are prohibited," she said in a statement.
Seven states had so far banned Zakir from speak, among them Melaka, Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Sarawak.