SRINAGAR: The political pro-freedom leaders and religious groups on Friday condemned the government of India and the Indian media for running a campaign against the renowned preacher Dr Zakir Naik.
Dr Naik’s work has come under scrutiny following the accusation by the Bangladesh government that his speeches inspired the persons who carried out a deadly attacked on a café in Dhaka.
The government has started reviewing his work, which the media has been raising questions about.
Reacting to the development, chairman Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Geelani, said that Dr Naik Sahab and his ‘Peace TV’ have been propagating and preaching the “true message of Islam” and he has no direct or indirect relation with the terrorist incidents taking place in Bangladesh or elsewhere.
“The RSS and its allied parties are actually frustrated with the popularity of the true Islamic message and they are now finding reasons and excuses to silence the prominent and most accepted voice of Dr Naik and the ‘Peace TV’,” Geelani said in a statement issued here.
He said the Sangh Parivar has started a “direct war” against the Islam and for this purpose they, with the help of state power, want to “silence and eliminate” every voice, person, or institution that is representing the Islam and the Muslims.
“Muslims as well as non-Muslim brothers too like to gain vital information from this ‘Peace TV’. This TV channel is doing a commendable job in clearing the misconceptions regarding the Islam all over the world,” he said.
The channel, he said, has become the reason for many non-Muslims willfully accepting Islam, and “this trend” has disturbed “the fanatic people of RSS and the Sangh Parivar”.
Geelani also criticised the Indian media for giving “too much hype” to this “baseless issue”.
“In the name of ‘Peace TV’, they are actually spreading venom against the Islam and are running a media trial against the Dr Naik and his TV channel over a baseless issue,” Geelani said.
‘Clear sign of anti-Muslim mindset’
Jammu Kashmir liberation front (JKLF) chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, termed it as the “unwanted” and “ugly” campaign.
“It is a witch hunt to suppress Muslims and Islamic institutions in India,” Malik said in a statement issued here. “Turning a preacher’s decade’s long peaceful sermons and teachings as doubtful on the pretext that someone liked him or his speeches is ridiculous, and the Indian biased anti-Muslim media and rulers have, by starting this witch hunt, actually crossed every limit of decency and humanity.”
Malik said that before any investigations, the Indian home and information ministry have declared Dr Naik’s speeches as controversial.
“It is a clear sign of the anti-Muslim mindset of the Indian ruling regime,” he said.
He said the “vicious campaign” against a “peaceful” Muslim scholar is actually vindicating the point of view that “Muslims in India are no longer safe and secure”.
“Muslims of Jammu Kashmir stand with Dr Naik and Indian Muslims in this hour of need,” he said.
Jamiat Ahlihadees Jammu Kashmir strongly condemned the “ugly campaign” of Indian government and media against Dr Zakir Naik.
Terming the campaign as “most condemnable”, president of the Jamiat, Prof Ghulam Muhammad Butt, and its general secretary doctor, Abdul Lateef Alkindi, said that “false propaganda” against a famous Islamic scholar was equivalent to waging a war against Muslims.
The Jamiat leaders hoped that the government of India would refrain from the acts that can ignite situation and worsen atmosphere.
‘They may ban the Quran recitation too’
Jama’at-e-Islami (JeI) J&K also denounced the “false and frivolous” charges against Dr Naik, calling the action an “infringement on the fundamental right to profess, propagate and practice one’s religion and faith”.
“… (It is) also an act of intimidation so as to forcibly stop him from carrying on his noble mission to serve the Truth as contained in the Book of Allah and the traditions of the holy Messenger of Allah may peace be upon him,” JeI said in a statement.
Jama’at also expressed deep sorrow and anguish over the attitude of the Muslim clerics who supported the “inhuman action” of BJP government.
“At this juncture, every sane Muslim should condemn the unjustified government action otherwise time will come when the recitation of the Qur’an may be banned and there will be no one to support the Muslims,” the statement said.
“The Muslims should unite against the anti- Islamic forces instead of fighting in between themselves.”
Rasheed condemns ‘media trial’
Awami Ittihaad Party Chief and MLA Langate, Er Rasheed, condemned the “media trial” against Dr Zakir Naik.
He said that some “fanatic forces” seem hell bent upon choking the voice of Dr Naik.
“It was naïve and unjustified to hold Dr Naik responsible for some body’s act,” he said in a statement issued here. “If someone says that he or they are inspired by Dr Zakir Naik, how does it mean that he is responsible for what the person does?”
He said there was not a single incident in which Dr Naik has supported violence or terrorism.
“Instead, he is known for preaching peace and brotherhood,” the MLA said.