Zakir Naik is a fundamentalist preacher, who through his speeches and sermons, conveys his interpretation of Islam, justifying some actions of the Islamists and condemning certain civil norms. His views on terrorism have been much criticized, and is seen encouraging people to pick up arms. He has thus, been a source of inspiration for the budding terrorists, the one guiding them on their path of destruction. They view him as a figure directing them along the path of their god, which can be done through mass destruction.
To get an idea on what these preaching are, an emphasis has to be paid on Zakir Naik’s golden words.
Views on terrorism:
“If Osama-bin-Laden is fighting enemies of Islam, I am for him. If he is terrorising America – the terrorist, biggest terrorist – I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist. The thing is that if he is terrorising the terrorist, he is following Islam.”
“If the situation demands, like in Palestine … and they cause a damage to the opponent, as a last resort, with guidance from a scholar, so with guidance from the Koran, as a last resort, it (suicide attacks) can be used.”
Views on religion:
“How can we allow construction of churches and temples in an Islamic country when their religion is wrong and their worshipping is wrong?”
“If a Hindu were to greet a Muslim with Namaste, the Muslim must return the greeting with Assalam Aleikum and never Namaste as it is un-Islamic”
“The Taliban did well by blowing up the Buddhas in Bamiyan. I have read all Buddhist texts. Nowhere do they talk of statues of Buddha. The Taliban did the Buddhists a favour by blowing up the statues which were not in consonance with Buddhism.”
Views on Equality:
“There are many verses in the Quran which say you can have sex with your wife and with whatever your right hand possesses (sex slaves).”
“Based on teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah, homosexuals should be killed.”
“Allah has given permission to men to beat women. As far as the family is concerned, a man is the leader. So, he has the right,”
“Girls shouldn’t be sent to schools where they lose their virginity by the time they pass out. “
Views on Nationalism:
“Not only the Muslims, but the Hindus must never say ‘Vande Mataram’ as it is akin to idol worship, which is proscribed in the Vedas.”
There is a strange correlation between the followers of Zakir Naik and terrorists. Such thought processes indicating Islamist supremacy have been extremely welcome by the existing Islamist terror organizations which are using this wisdom to soothe their conscience. They perceive him to be a very well read man and his speeches give sanctity to their views on terrorism. His sermons incite and influence the viewers, encouraging them towards terrorism.
The latest example of these views and its consequences has been the Islamic extremist, Moulvi Zahran Hashim, linked to the Sri Lankan terror attacks. According to Malaysia Chronicle, unconfirmed reports have revealed that the suicide bomber and the mastermind behind the attack on the Shangri La hotel in Sri Lanka, has been identified as Moulvi Zahran Hashim. Hashim has a history filled with instances displaying Islamic supremacy. He had also posted several YouTube videos, in which he preaches incitement. Moulvi Zahran Hashim is said to be inspired by Naik, which becomes crystal clear when in one of his videos, he asked, “What can Sri Lankan Muslims do for Dr. Zakir Naik?”
This is not the sole incidence of terror incitement. Naik’s views have been used for inspiring many to commit the heinous acts since a long time, including the Dhaka attacks in 2016. Investigation has revealed that 2 of the 7 attackers who killed 20 people in Dhaka were ‘inspired by his preaching about Islam’. In light of this attack, his speeches were banned in Bangladesh and India. India also banned his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in 2016 and declared him an offender by a special NIA court in 2017. He has been accused of inciting youth to take up terror activities, giving hate speeches and promoting enmity between communities. Since then, he has been living in Malaysia where he has been given permanent residence. Along with India and Bangladesh, Zakir Naik was also banned from entering Canada and UK due to his views and sermons.
It wasn’t just the incident in Dhaka, Naik is said to have influenced various other terror attacks all over the world. Afghan-American Najibulla Zazi, the terror suspect accused of conspiring to bomb the New York subway in 2009, was said to be a follower of Naik’s preaching. Another of his followers was Dr Kafeel Ahmed, who attacked the Glasgow airport in 2007, and the 7/11 serial train blasts accused Rahil Sheikh. Moreover, sources say the chief of Hyderabad module of ISIS, Ibrahim Yazdhani, was deeply influenced by Naik.
Zakir Naik has become the root of a number of terror attacks all over the globe. India realized this and banned his organization. He claims to be ‘innocent’ and has been avoiding penalty. It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword, implying, words can do more damage than the actual act of violence. In this regard, Zakir Naik has corrupted the minds of many Muslims and is directly responsible for the dastardly terrorist attacks which have taken the lives on innocents, their only fault being not belonging to the religion of the attackers.