New Delhi: Mumbai-based Islamic tele-evangelist Zakir Naik is in the eye of a storm, after being named as the inspiration behind terrorists who attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka recently. In an recent interview, Zakir Naik praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for reaching out to Muslim countries. The Mumbai-based preacher called terror outfit Islamic State or ISIS ‘un-Islamic’ and said he is proud Indian Muslim.
Praising PM Narendra Modi for visiting Islamic countries, Zakir Naik said that his efforts would strengthen the Hindu-Muslim unity in India. “Modi is the only prime minister of India who has visited so many Muslim countries in just two years. This will strengthen relations between India and other Muslim countries. It will strengthen relationship of Hindus and Muslims too. If his intention is to maintain unity between Hindus and Muslims and between India and other Muslim countries, I am totally for him,” Naik said speaking with a news agency.
Condemning the brutal acts of ISIS, Zakir Naik called the terror outfit ‘un-Islamic’ and said the concept of jihad is misunderstood by many. Naik also rejected the charge of forceful conversion by him or his organisation. The 51-year old doctor-turned-firebrand TV preacher reiterated that he is ready to appear before any investigative agency in connection with any case.
“Jihad means to strive and struggle to make the society better. It also stands for self-defence. But the Indian media has hyped jihad. Besides non-Muslims, it is misunderstood even by Muslims. IS is killing innocent people which, according to the Quran, is a sin against humanity. I call them anti-Islam state. They have given a wrong meaning to Islam. If someone killed Muslims in Gujarat that does not justify killing innocent Hindus in Mumbai,” Naik said.
On forceful conversion:
Rejecting the allegation of forceful conversion, Zakir Naik maintained that he never forced anyone to embrace Islam. He also said that the Constitution of India gives him every right to preach his religion.
“I have never forced anybody to embrace Islam. Thousands of people have embraced Islam after hearing my speeches but God has given them guidance. If someone wants to come in the religion of peace, i cannot stop him. Under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, one has the right to practice and propagate one’s religion,” said the Islamic scholar. Zakir Naik concluded saying,”I am very happy and proud to be an Indian and an Indian Muslim.”