Muslim groups have criticised Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s open letter, in which he said that targeting him is attacking India’s Muslims.
Javed Anand, general secretary of Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD), issued a press statement criticising Nail’s letter. “His claim of spreading the message of peace for the last 25 years is nothing but a lie through and through. What he has actually been spreading in the name of Islam and peace are prejudice, intolerance, contempt for other religions and its followers, if not outright hatred,” the statement read.
Naik, a so-called TV evangelist whose speeches are aired on his channel, Peace TV, runs Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). He is accused of giving provocative hate speeches and dodging the police after it was reported that one of the terrorists who attacked Dhaka in July said he was inspired by Naik’s speeches.
Anand asked Naik a question.
“Since his open letter to Indians comes in the middle of Ganeshotsav, I would like to (ask) him a simple question: Would he consider wishing millions of Ganesh bhakts with ‘Happy Ganeshotsav’? Or does he consider that to be a great sin?” he said in the statement.
Anand told HT, “He considers taking Shiva’s or Ganesha’s name ‘a sin’. He considers eating ‘prasad’ a sin, and he is writing a letter to Indians. What world is he living in and which Indian is he addressing?”
Feroz Mithiborwala, also from MSD, said, “Naik speaking on democracy and peace itself is hypocrisy of the highest order. He is on record saying that since Islam is the only true religion, people of other religions have no right to preach and convert, and they can only practise it at home because they will not be allowed to build their temples and churches, which is in clear violation of Article 25 of our constitution (Constitution of India), both in letter and in spirit.”
Mithiborwala also took a jibe at Naik. “Had India been a Muslim-majority country, would he and his followers have continued to remain in the secular state or would they impose their own laws?”