“If he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I’m for him”

Indian Islamist preacher Zakir Naik found himself in controversy when terrorists behind the Dhaka bombing said that they had been influenced by his speeches. With a video of Naik apparently supporting Osama Bin Laden doing the rounds, the preacher has now found himself in more trouble.

The controversial video:

 

The controversial video from 2006 features Naik telling an audience in Singapore that “all Muslims should be terrorists” and that if Osama was terrorizing the terrorist, he was with him. He also says that one should verify the message before passing it on and that media’s reporting of Taliban’s policies may be more negative than they actually are.

“I’m not a personal expert on politics,” he says, “but if you ask my view about Taliban” … “Media says Taliban is so bad, it doesn’t allow women to work”… “Taliban said that it is not good for women to work outside as the atmosphere is not modest. We’ll see to it that their salary is delivered on the doorstep”… “Is it good or bad if your sister was in Afghanistan?” he asks.

On Osama Bin Laden, he says -

“If he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I’m for him” … “If he is terrorizing America, the biggest terrorist, then I am with him” … “If he is terrorising a terrorist, he’s following Islam!”

Naik’s response to CNN-News 18 on July 7, 2016

However, rubbishing that these statements implied his support for extremism, this is what Naik told CNN-News 18’s Smitha Nair in a telephonic interview –

"My speech on Osama Bin Laden made in Singapore was doctored. I never asked to support Osama Bin Laden. The video circulated (in social media) was doctored. I didn't call Osama either a terrorist or a saint. I don’t even know him."

"It is totally illogical to say that I promote terrorism. Not a single investigative agency says Dr Zakir Naik promotes terrorism. The Home Ministry is most welcome to go through all my speeches," Naik said, defending himself.

He added that all these terrorists had been inspired by Prophet Mohammad, but that did not imply that the Prophet was inspiring violence. “The media has picked up one clip and turned it out of context and is now accusing me of promoting terrorism,” he alleged.

He also referred to the Quran in his interview and said that it does not support killing of innocents. If anyone kills any innocent human being, it is as though he has killed all of humanity,” he said.

A controversial Islamic orator, Naik has been banned in the UK for his ‘hateful speech’ against other religions. However, Naik claims that his speeches have brought people closer to humanity and Islam.    

Before Wednesday’s Naik’s interview with the TV channel, Naik in an interview with The Indian Express on July 5 said, “I have said that the Quran explicitly says in Chapter 5 that when a person kills another human being, of any religion, it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity. And when a man protects another from being killed, it is as though he has saved all of humanity… Why does the media give only half of my quote? I have said that for a thief, a policeman is a terrorist. And people should be terrorists against anti-social elements. The media misrepresents what I said, so i stopped saying this at my lectures.”