In his first public appearance after being banned from entering Britain, Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik on Tuesday said the UK government’s move was a “gimmick to show that it is getting tough on extremism”.
On June 17, a day before he was set to fly to the UK to deliver public lectures, the British Home Office gave him an exclusion order accusing him of propagating terrorism. “In the publicity my tour got in the British media, I was quoted out of context and falsely portrayed as a ‘Preacher of Hate’. This put pressure on the newly elected government to exclude me,” Naik said.
“I have on numerous occasions condemned unequivocally all acts of violence and terrorism,” said Naik, arguing that he only advises Muslims to be ‘terrorists’ to anti-social elements, just as a “policeman is a terrorist for a thief”.
The 44-year-old orator has initiated proceedings to file a judiciary revision (writ petition) in a British court, and plans to approach Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna.
“Maligning someone as dangerous, issuing an unappealable exclusion order at just a day’s notice and not allowing him to explain himself or show cause is absolutely unjustified,” said advocate Majid Memon, present to support Naik. Memon said the quoted extracts dates back to 2006, two years before the UK government granted Naik a five-year visa to the country.
“We should not become victims of the Western media and governments, who decide at the drop of a hat who they are going to call terrorists,” said filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.