Thursday, July 14, 2016

Muslims for Secularism and Democracy July 13, 2016 Statement issued at a Press Conference held in Mumbai

Muslims for Secularism and Democracy
Statement issued at a Press Conference held in Mumbai  July 13, 2016

Dr. Zakir Naik’s ‘Peace TV’ preaches contempt, if not hatred, for other religions
  • We appeal to all peace-loving Indians in general and Muslims in particular to expose Zakir Naik’s real agenda and warn Muslim youth to beware of his toxic theology.  
  • We demand that Zakir Naik and all hate-mongers, irrespective of religion, be probed and prosecuted for promoting enmity between different religious groups.
Since the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka there have been several reports in the media that security agencies in India and Bangladesh are probing the possible role of Dr. Zakir Naik in aiding and abetting terrorist acts in Islam’s name.

Whether the televangelist is guilty of complicity in terrorist activity or not can only be established through an unbiased, fair investigation. But of one thing there can be little doubt. Dr. Naik is no messenger of peace. Far from promoting peace, his ‘Peace TV’ promotes contempt, if not hatred, for other religions and its followers.

Dr. Naik’s and his benefactors’ agenda is simple: To uproot the centuries-old tolerant, vibrant tradition within Islam and replace it with the rigid, supremacist, intolerant, dry-as-the-desert Saudi-promoted Wahhabism/Salafism which is hostile not only towards other religions but even towards other Islamic traditions and schools of thought.

The brand of Islam that Dr Naik promotes does violence to the clear Quranic command to Muslims not to ridicule the beliefs of others. Nearly a millennium ago the message which the highly regarded Sufi, Ibn Arabi gave to fellow Muslims was this: “Do not praise your own faith exclusively so that you disbelieve all the rest… God, the Omniscient and the Omnipresent, cannot be confined to any one creed”.

Dr Naik’s Islam is contrary to the Islam preached and practiced for centuries in our subcontinent by numerous Sufi saints, including Baba Farid, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (‘Gharib Nawaz’). His Wahhabi fulminations are an assault on Islam’s tolerant tradition; seeks to destroy India’s age-old tradition of unity within diversity, its syncretic culture (Gunga-Jamuni tehzeeb) and shared heritage (saajhi virasat)

The following examples of ‘Naikspeak’ speak for themselves.

Contempt for other religions: 
- Islam is the “only true religion”, only Muslims have real knowledge in this subject. Therefore, “we” have the right not only to build mosques across the globe but also to prohibit “sinful” religious practices, disallow construction of churches or temples in Islamic countries.

- Accepting prasad after Ganesh Puja offered by a Hindu is haraam (forbidden, sinful) for a Muslim; so is wishing ‘Merry Christmas’ to a Christian.

- Pig is the only animal where the male indulges in ‘wife-sharing’. Those who eat pigs behave like pigs. 

- In demolishing the historic Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, the Taliban were “educating Buddhists”. Lord Buddha never approved of statues.

A frightening flirtation with words: And at a time of global concern over spreading terror in the name of Islam, instead of warning his millions of followers in unambiguous words against extremism and terrorism he chooses to flirt with words.

 - “Every Muslim should be a terrorist… for anti-social elements”

- “If he (Osama bin Laden) is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him… If he is terrorising America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, he’s following Islam.” 

Misogynist message: Zakir Naik sermonises that women who step out of their homes without being clad in a burqa have only themselves to blame for sexual violence.

  • Two pretty sisters are walking down the road. One is in a miniskirt or shorts, the other is fully covered in a burqa. Who do you think is asking for trouble?
  •  Islam permits Muslim men to have sexual relations with their wives and slaves. But vice versa is not permitted. [And that’s exactly what the ISIS is currently doing].

Death for a Muslim apostate: While Zakir Naik claims the right of Muslims to propagate Islam throughout the world, his prescription for any Muslim who opts of Islam and preaches his new faith is death. His explanation: apostasy is the same as treason.

The most disturbing thing about Dr Zakir Naik and his ‘Peace TV’ is that his supremacist, exclusionary, divisive message is being lapped up by millions of gullible young Muslims well-educated in worldly subjects but with little grounding in Islam and the tolerant traditions within it.

The last thing that Indian Muslims – who are already victims of prejudice, discrimination, Islamophobia, recurring communal violence – need are the teachings of Zakir Naik. Instead of promoting communal harmony he and his ‘Peace TV’ have been promoting communal discord.

We appeal to all peace-loving Indians in general and Muslims in particular to expose Zakir Naik’s real agenda and warn Muslim youth to beware of his toxic theology.

We demand that Zakir Naik and all other hate-mongers be probed and prosecuted for promoting enmity between different religious groups (Section 153-A of IPC).

Lastly, we appreciate Prime Minister Modi’s belated statement, "Preachers of hate and violence are threatening our society." While making this statement we hope that the prime minister had not only Dr Zakir Naik in mind but also some ministers and MPs of his own party and the numerous leaders from his sangh parivar.

Javed Anand
Irfan Engineer
Noorjehan S. Niaz  
Feroze  Mithiborwala,
Zeenat Shaukat Ali
Anjum Rajabali
Kader Kazi
Nasreen Contractor
Shahbaz Khan          
Shakeel Ahmed             
M. A. Khalid
Ram Puniyani
Milind Ranade
Kapil Patil
Anand Patwardhan
Kishor Jagtap
Varsha V Vilas
Amol Madame
Jatin Desai
Jyoti Badekar
Afaque Azad
Farouk Mapkar
Arif Kapadia
Mayur Thakre
Dr. V. N. Sharma
Irfan Mulla
Inayat Patkar
Inayat Jehangir
Sunil Gajakosh
Javed Khan
Jayant Dewan.

Solidarity message from Afghanistan:
“Dear Friends, We also think the same from Afghanistan and support your action for promotion of democracy and secularism. Best regards  Massouda Jalal, Hameeda Board Secretary, Jalal Foundation, Kabul, Afghanistan.

For further details please contact:  
Javed Anand                                       Feroze Mithiborwala
+919870402556                                  +919029277751