CONTROVERSIAL Indian preacher Zakir Naik led Maghrib and Isyak prayers at the Malacca Chinese Mosque tonight, staying away from giving any speeches.
He also took part in the Yasin recital along with more than 1,000 other devotees at the Malam Islam Bersama Zakir Naik event.
The event had come under spotlight as it was Zakir’s first public appearance after police had barred him from delivering public talks in every state in Malaysia.
State exco and chairman of the mosque Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen had previously defended Zakir’s appearance at the event as it was not a political talk but a religious programme by the mosque.
Zakir arrived at the mosque just before Maghrib prayers and left at around 9.30pm.
The Mumbai-born preacher was mobbed by the crowd who wanted to take photographs with him.
“Zakir is not a criminal. He has not murdered anyone. Why must people be afraid of a preacher like Zakir?” Rafiq said in his speech at the event.
The Bersatu supreme council member also hopes that the ban on Zakir to deliver talks would be lifted soon.
“My wish and the wish of the Muslim community, and we don’t force this on anyone, is for police to allow Zakir to continue with his preaching if they have completed their investigations on him,” said the state exco member.
He also advised Zakir to be mindful of what he says in his speeches so that he does not cause racial and religious tensions.
He then told critics to stop hitting out at the event as it was a religious function, and warned then not to touch on Islamic affairs.
He thanked Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for refusing to extradite Zakir back to India where he is wanted for terrorism and money-laundering charges.
The event today faced objections from Rafiq’s own colleagues in the state government.
Malacca exco Kerk Chee Yee previously said Zakir remains a divisive figure to many Malaysians and, as such, the “spirit” of the decision to bar him from speaking in public should be observed.
Last month, Chief Minister Adly Zahari said the Mumbai-born televangelist will not be allowed to preach in the state.
Putrajaya’s position is not to deport the preacher, on the grounds that he will not get a fair trial in India. But, the government has warned Zakir, who holds a permanent residency status here, not to say or do anything that could jeopardise race relations here.
It was reported that the issue of Zakir’s extradition was brought up when Dr Mahathir met his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in Russia this week.
Zakir is under police investigations over his divisive speech during an event in Kelantan where he had allegedly insulted the Indians and Chinese. — https://www.themalaysianinsight.com
1,000 THRONG MELAKA MOSQUE TO PRAY WITH ZAKIR NAIK
KRUBONG – More than 1,000 people thronged the Chinese Mosque here in Melaka to pray alongside Dr Zakir Naik, proof that the controversial preacher’s popularity remains high despite a national ban on giving public talks.
The three-hour event was largely incident-free, although things became a little chaotic when some members of the congregation jostled to snap photographs with Naik as he was about to leave the mosque.
The event, “Malam Islam Bersatu”, was organised by the mosque’s committee, which is chaired by PPBM supreme council member Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen, who has been a vocal Naik supporter.
Also present were Umno and PAS leaders including Serkam assemblyman Zaidi Attan, Merlimau assemblyman Roslan Ahmad and Melaka PAS commissioner Kamaruddin Sidek.
Rafiq said no untoward incident occurred despite Naik’s presence, .
“Thousand of Muslims united irrespective of political ideologies and race. This evening’s event went about peacefully. It quashes claims that this event would fail and would not achieve its objective. I am perplexed as to why a religious programme would be objected by many.”
Rafiq said that he hoped the Naik speaking ban would be rescinded.
He also said that tonight’s event should not be politicised as it had nothing to do with any political party. “The Chinese Mosque is not a PPBM mosque,” he said.
He hoped that ties with other Pakatan Harapan leaders would not be affected by his organising the event. Some members of the ruling coalition, such as Ayer Keroh assemblyman Kerk Chee Yee of DAP, have called a state ban on Naik from speaking in the state. The decision was made by Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahary.
Rafiq urged those who attended the event to back prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s decision not to deport Naik to India, where he faces a charge of money laundering, despite recent public outcries over Naik’s speeches in Kelantan.
Naik was reported to have questioned the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus to Mahathir and was later quoted as saying that the Chinese community in Malaysia were also considered to be “guests” in the country. Police have barred Naik, who has permanent resident status in Malaysia, from speaking in public saying that his presence could pose a threat to the peace.
Rafiq urged attendees to push aside their political differences and defend Naik. “Don’t let Mahathir to stand alone. Naik is not a criminal. He hasn’t killed anyone. Why are we afraid of Naik?” he said. — FMT
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / FMT