Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Questioning the “vision” behind Zakir Naik’s “Peace” | TwoCircles.net


By A. Faizur Rahman for TwoCircles.net
Chennai witnessed a rare show of Shia-Sunni unity when the Chief Qazis of both these communities lodged a joint complaint with the authorities against Dr. Zakir Naik’s Peace Exhibition and had it shifted from Chennai to the outskirts of the city. The Qazis had actually wanted a total ban on the exhibition but the organisers managed to get permission, apparently after accepting to abide by the strict conditions imposed by the law enforcing agencies. The case of the Sunni Qazi was that Zakir Naik showed disrespect to Prophet Muhammad while the Shia Qazi objected to Naik’s eulogizing of Yazeed, who, according to the Shias, was responsible for the assassination of Iman Hussian, the grandson of the Prophet.

To be fair to Zakir Naik, the “disrespect” he showed to the Prophet was unintentional and a genuine slip of the tongue for which he promptly apologised. But his remarks on Yazeed were certainly unwarranted given the uneasy peace that exists between the Shias and the Sunnis.
Naik must also take cognizance of the fact that the moderate majority of the Muslim community is upset with him for promoting Salafism in the name of Islam. The recent debate pertaining to his “Peace” conference on Twocircles.net was reflective of this perception wherein many Muslim writers condemned the streaks of “extremism” and “Salafism” inherent in the “vision” that is propagated through the Peace Convention. A dispassionate analysis of the ideology of those behind the concept of this exhibition certainly gives the impression that the accusations against this event are not without basis.
Answering a non-Muslim in the Guftagu programme on QTV as to why Muslim countries do not allow people of other religions to propagate their faith, Zakir Naik said that Islam being the only true religion, and all other religions being totally false, the question of allowing either Christians or Hindus to build Churches or Temples to propagate their religion in a Muslim country does not arise. But on the other hand, he said, the Muslims, as a matter of right, were entitled to propagate their faith in non-Muslim countries because "we are trying to get them to the right path of Islam."