oppn parties Zakir Naik: Dangerous "Agony Aunt" of Islam

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Zakir Naik: Dangerous "Agony Aunt" of Islam

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
If we recognize that people like Zakir Naik are born out of the habit of a majority of supposedly secular Indian politicians to treat any minority preacher with kid gloves, a lot of our problems will be solved. In the name of religious freedom, what Zakir Naik is doing is not propagating Islam (which would have been perfectly fine) but putting down other religions in a manner which radicalizes Muslim youth. He has been doing this for a long time now and has won awards from Saudi Arabia and other countries for his contribution to Islam. He has cleverly named his TV channel as Peace TV, but his speeches are designed to foster conflict between religions. Closer home, supposedly secular politicians have never questioned him, lest it disturb their assiduously cultivated vote bank. If the glare is now on him, it is only because a neighbouring country has complained that his speeches inspired citizens in that country to carry out a terror attack on unsuspecting foreigners.

Zakir Naik has a unique question-answer format in his preaching sessions. Noted political commentator Saba Naqvi has called him the “agony aunt” of Islam in an article in The Times of India. If he had confined his answers to the tenets of Islam, there would have been no problem. But Naik often speaks against other religions in objectionable language and it is surprising that till now, no government has had the courage to pull him up for it. For, religious freedom does not mean rubbishing other religions. The freedom to rubbish other religions is given to a selected few in India only by our spineless politicians who cannot foresee what it will lead to. The attack in Bangladesh is an eye-opener and if we do not identify and stop people like Naik even now, our future sufferings will have no end.

Secularism does not mean giving a free run to a selected few in the minorities. If Hindutva votaries’ call for sending Muslims to Pakistan is objectionable, so is a Muslim preacher’s identification of all non-Muslims as kafirs, which has developed into a term of abuse. Secularism means being even handed. So if minority preachers are using objectionable methods to create disharmony among communities and radicalize the youth, they should be dealt with according to the law of the land. People like Zakir Naik should be told in strong language that their game is up and they cannot carry out their nefarious agenda from Indian soil.