Zakir Naik finally addresses media, says I am messenger of peace, have never encouraged anyone to kill innocent people
“Suicide bombings are not permitted in Islam, it is prohibited. It is the second major sin in Islam, it is haraam. I condemn it,” said Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik who is on the radar of Indian security agencies after one of the suicide bombers involved in Dhaka terror attack allegedly claimed that he was inspired by his speeches. Utv Pakistan Report
“The media trial on me started after Bangladeshi Newspaper Daily Star reported that one of the attackers was inspired by me. Few days later on July 9, the newspaper corrected itself and said it never reported that Dr Zakir Naik any terrorist to kill innocent people. I thank them for correcting the information. I wonder why the Indian media which started a trial against me based on one single report do the same after the Bangladeshi publication retracted the story,” said the televangelist while interacting with the media through Skype from abroad on Friday for the first time after the controversy arose.
After a series of cancellations of the news briefing on account of alleged denial of venue, it finally took place today at a banquet hall in Mazagaon, Mumbai.
He had earlier “booked” two five star hotels, a three star hotel and then a community centre for the press conference but the booking was allegedly cancelled by the venue owners at the eleventh hour at the behest of the Mumbai Police, which outrightly denied the allegation calling it “baseless”.
He began the press conference with recitation of Quranic verses and condemned all terror attacks anywhere in the world
“I condemn the terrorist attack in Nice, France. I condemn such attacks in India and anywhere in the world. This should not happen,” he said in his opening remarks.
He said he is shocked when he saw panel discussions against him in the past few days on different TV channels.
“My statements were taken out of context, sometimes only one sentence was taken into consideration, some of the clips were doctored and they were asking their panellists whether they agree or disagree. Without knowing the context and seeing the entire clip, how can they make any statement against me? Imagine, if all panellists agree that Dr Zakir Naik says in his lectures that all Muslims should be a terrorist and imagine I take that statement and show it on television saying that this journalist is saying every Muslim should be a terrorist, this becomes a firing line. It is not fare,” he added.
Dr Naik said he has replied to all allegations made on TV against him and compiled and saved them on pen drives for reporters. “If you listen to them without any bias, you will be convinced that I am a messenger of peace and I condemn every terror attack be it takes place in India or any part of the world,” he said requesting journalists present in the news briefing to ask questions and he will speak for hours if needed.
Asked he has been seen in his videos advocating people’s killing in way of suicide bombings, the preacher said, “It is a misinformation. If suicide bombings are carried out to kill innocent people, it is condemnable; it is not permitted in Islam; it is prohibited. It is haraam and is the second major sin in Islam. All Islamic scholars have condemned it. But if it is chosen as a tactic of war as has been done in the past, in which the amin (the head or leader of the army) gives permission to carry it out to win a war and defeat the enemy, in this case only it can be permitted. Otherwise, in all other cases it is condemnable.”
Referring to the limited justification of the suicide bombing he gave in the reply, he said “if you ignore the first and take the second part of my statement on suicide attacks, it will appear as if I am advocating it. And it will spread a misinformation”.
Asked should not he think that he should be sensitive enough to make such comment because it can be misinterpreted by the huge fan following he has, Dr Naik argued, “If an Army general says we can win a war and save our country from the enemies if few of them blow themselves off at a place where the enemies are gathered, hundreds of people would be ready to do it to save their country. But it is a special case involving the safety and security of the country and does not legitimise suicide attacks at public places where innocents die. This is the complete answer and should not be taken into isolation to avoid any confusion. I don’t think any logical person will take it out of context. I am giving sermons for years and no one has ever objected to what I say despite the fact that most of the participants of my public speeches are non-Muslims. They listen to what I say completely and never take it out of context. It is the media change meaning of my statements for ulterior motives. My answers are altered to misguide people. Those who do that should be held responsible.”
Asked why didn’t he explicitly condemned suicide bombings and other terror acts as he is doing now and why did he chose to give ambiguous replies to this question in his public speeches, Dr Naik challenged the reporter to show him any single unedited video in which he is giving ambiguous replies on the issue of terror.
“I challenge you to show me any unedited recording of my lecture in which I have not condemned suicide bombings that kill innocent people. It is your remarks. We have the recordings. Why are you relying on doctored clips or an answer which is out of context??” he asked referring to Quran that Chapter 5, Verse 32 of Quran says killing innocents is crime. “No scripture other than Quran says killing one innocent is killing humanity,” he added.
Asked about Peace TV, he defended his channel saying that “Peace TV is a legal religious satellite channel. Show me one program that has negative content. I am being targeted for running an Islamic channel.”
“Peace TV applied for downlinking permission in 2008 and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting denied it. The only reason I can think of why I&B Ministry did not give permission to Peace TV for downlinking in India is because it is a Muslim channel,” he alleged.
He reiterated that no government authority has approached him or his team with any question over the past few days. “If anyone approaches me, I will answer their questions. So far, I have had no problem with the Indian government of the police. I have never encouraged any single person to kill innocent people in my entire life. Knowingly I have never met any terrorist, but if some people stand next to me to take photographs, I smile. I don’t know who they are,” he clarified.