Zakir Naik Controversy And Anti-Muslim Bigotry


This time Eid celebrations, for me, were hollow, void and barren, not because that I could not make it to my home on eid, but more so because of the fact that the preceding month; the holy month of Ramzan, has witnessed series of tragic/unholy attacks from Orlando, Istanbul to Dhaka and Masjid-e-nabwi in Medina. These traumatizing terrorist attacks have claimed thousands of innocent lives; kids, adolescents, young and old alike. ISIS is claimed to have carried out these heinous inhuman acts of oppressions and violence, let alone being un-Islamic.

As usual, the international media started spewing out Islamophobic comments. Still the true face of ISIS is yet to be unearthed. For me, ISIS is as un-Islamic as forming assumptions about a pious chaste woman. These attacks are still giggling at me with heavy brute tones” We are the doom shades of conspiracies, sophisticated designs of violent extremism beyond extremes and hegemonic traitors of homicide”. These attacks must be condemned in all possible ways and protests. But ,speaking tersely, we NEED to understand the language of conspiracy and its tools, national and international, of trapping us and even our vehement condemnation in own well knitted mesh, which ultimately help the powers of extremism and terrorism. The need is to evolve our own LANGUAGE of resistances, condemnations, protests and counter narratives.

In the Dhaka attack, tow of the five attackers, as reported in various newspapers, have been inspired by the sermons of Dr. Zakir Naik. Being inspired by someone is often unavoidably a natural tendency. We all inspire one/many and also in turn are inspired by one/many. But how one articulates the inspiration into one’s personality and dispositions is purely a matter of individualistic choice and is therefore accountable to its consequential impact- short or long term and visible or invisible. I have often listened to the Astha channel but never found it inspirational. I even enjoy listening to the tiny tender Hindutva icon Sadhvi Sarswati, let alone the adult franchise of the Sangh Parivar. Frankly she looks so cute to me and at the same I feel pity on her. There are so many Bollywood movies which openly tarnish the image of Indian Muslims and portray Pakistani Muslims as the only terrorists. I don’t find being ‘inspired’ to go and kill the directors or producers. If a religious preacher, who has dedicated his life to calling people to peace and “common terms”, as found in the most of religious scriptures, and reminding people of what they have forgotten about their own religious traditions, is being labeled as ‘backing suicide bombing’ and a secret terrorist, we should give a second thought to our conscience and psyche.

The national media has once again taken to its all-time favorite pastime ‘good for nothing’ task of spewing anti-Muslim venom and largely diverting the attention of the masses to unimportant issues in the garb of national security. The issues of national interests and national security like those of Vyapam scam, 45000 cr telecom scam, Adani 200cr penalty case and many others are not discussed at length and debated. StopZakirNaik is an extension of the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ by the Hindutva brigades. The media leaves no stones unturned in associating each act of terrorism with the Muslims, as if they are born terrorists. There is no denying that disagreeing with Zakir Naik on one front or many can be a choice and a natural way to respond to his ideas/conceptions. But calling for BanZakirNaik is an utterly right-wing attitude and liberals too are silent. When the liberals and secularists can give credence to blasphemy and defamations of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by trumpeting the blows of ‘freedom of expression’, their silence on the rights of the Muslim minority in India to propagate their faith is bitterly indigestible. It is equally disheartening to note on one hand, the abominable lull of some Islamic organizations, and competitive boisterous argumentative atmosphere among the Brelvi and Deobandi ulemas issuing fatwas to brand Zakir Naik as un-Islamic because of his topee-cum-tie outlook.  To them this is a hybrid mixture of westernization and Islam, which are unthinkable to coexist together.

I would like to respond to Mr. Arnab Goswami in his own parlance, his usual way of turning from a below-average journalist to a self-avowed judge.

This is about Banning ‪ArnabGoswamy and ‪SudheerChawdhurywho mix venom with Journalism to spread hatred in the viewers. And I say in my post that these people spread violence in their news debates and go to any extremes to falsely implicate someone in charges of ‪#‎Maoism‪,Terrorism and ‪‎ISSympathesiser. But the problem with us here in India is that we never look within. That we allow this character called #ArnabGuSwamy who has created a TV Debate empire of chilla chilli‪ Brute cacophony to spread the sanghi ‪Saffron journalism in India to become bigger n bigger ‪Sanghi blower of AntiMuslim sentiments. And now that it is proved that he showed doctored video on his debate set, we dont know where we look. Dear my post readers, ArnabGuswamy‪ operates from The NewsHour 9 TIMES NOW and ‪Broadcasts his crazy news ‪Sermons and I am saying clearly his crazy news #Sanghi sermons to support ant-muslims communal frenzy hysteria. He supports Sanghi brigades; he abuses all (particularly muslim names like Umar Khalid Asad Ashraf) on his debates. Dear ladies and gentlemen, we have a man amidst us and on our soil that spreads hatred and extremism ‪Sanghism across the India media, yet we won’t act and why we won’t act. we won’t act because as per my information ArnabGuSwamy operating from TIMES NOW has an open patronage of very important politicians and core relationship with them because people are scared that ‪Stopping arresting Arnab will not be (quote unquote) ‪Secular enough. Thats why I step now in my individual capacity and I say ‪‎StopArnabGoswamy ‪BanHisTvDebates‪ StopHisBroadcast ‪PutHimUnderSevereInterrogation ‪#‎Question him and let all agencies lose on this man to find out every new naya paisa and rupee that comes into his pocket to spread venom. Take away his Journalism Certificates and deny him his freedom to be the Sanghi televangelist. If you believe in what I am saying then the hashtag is and let’s make it trend ‪StopArnabGoSwamy. Lets us come together and ensure that this figure of hate ‪SanghiViolence ‪SanghiExtremism is stopped in all possible ways, under the law , the Indian law that applies to us all and he walks on it each and every day. StopArnabGoswamy. That’s my take today.

Zakir Naik can be factually wrong. It is not a big deal. Even his stance on the theory of evolution, polygamy, rape, alcohol consumption, interest-free banking and uniform civil code may not be appealing and convincing to many including Muslims too. We can have more refined and nuanced discussions and understanding of these issues. But to say that Zaki Naik is spreading terrorism is completely blown out of proportions and evidently unfounded. He is not a sociologist, economist, political scientist and nor even a scholar of Islamic studies. Were he either of these, this would still warrant disagreement with his ideas and discussions and debates with him. He calls himself a student of contemporary religions. We must welcome him as the one who is learning and trying hard to teach the people about their common terms found in their religious traditions. Stop vilifying Zakir Naik and spewing venom against Muslims as a whole.

Zakir Naik is not an ISIS supporter but he certainly calls it un-Islamic.
Zakir Naik is not an economist, but he certainly knows the prohibition of interest in Semitic religions.
Zakir Naik is not a feminist, but he certainly preaches for women safety.
Zakir Naik is not a historian, but he certainly knows the histories of Moses,Jesus and Muhammad(PBUA).
Zakir Naik is not a sociologist, but he certainly calls for social/communal harmony.
Zakir Naik is not a political scientist, but he certainly believes in democracy
Zakir Naik is not a muqallid, but he certainly advocates for ittehad (unity) in all maslaks.
Zakir Naik is not a son of “BharatMata”, but he certainly loves his India.
Zakir Naik is not a researcher on rapes and homosexuality, but he certainly argues against these.
Zakir Naik is not an evolution theorist, but he certainly believes men were not monkeys.
Zakir Naik is not a scholar of Islamic studies, but he is certainly a reader of contemporary religions.
Zakir Naik is not a terrorist, but he certainly preaches for peace.

This is my sincere appeal to all Muslims, irrespective of their maslaks and sects, to come out of their ghetto mentality and engage in critical reading and scholarship with their religion. Be not among those of literalist traditions but be among those of reformist traditions. Be open to critical engagement with the textual interpretation in a contextual epoch.

Kashif Mansoor,  M.Phil Economics, Centre for Development Studies(JNU),Trivandrum, Kerala

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