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Zakir Naik is breaking the law

LETTER | It is bewildering that Zakir Naik is allowed to keep on preaching his brand of extremism in this country. It is infringing the law of the land. It is worrying that his rhetoric that enhances the philosophy of religious supremacy by comparing religions, seems to be gradually growing in arrogance. Obviously and ironically, he is emboldened by the strong support indicated in our own political landscape.

He undermines other religions with contemptuous ease, and in doing so, fuels the extremists to aggression. He has done it many times before in other countries and this is the main reason why it is difficult to find a country that will take him. He is believed to have inspired many terrorist acts in some of those countries that have banned him. 

He may not directly be involved in terrorist activities but is equally responsible for it when he instigates and provokes those who carry out such extreme criminal offences. Instigation and provocation are defined in our law as abetment.

We will face the same risk if we do not take affirmative action to put a stop to this type of religious rhetorics. Malaysia at the moment is quite volatile with the transition of its political landscape and we cannot afford any racial or religious flare-ups as the consequences can be extremely dire. 

It is not uncommon for politicians to use him for their own agendas but it is quite bewildering that the authorities have not applied the rule of law to him especially when there are elements of offences under section 298 and 298A of the Penal Code.

The evidence requires that he uttered those words, gestures, etc., that he deliberately wounded the religious feelings of others. Section 298A is a seizeable offence and he must be held accountable by this law.

Racial and religious extremists exist in all parts of the world and they have the right to say what they want as long as it does not create unrest amongst the people of other faiths. In this case, Zakir keeps overstepping the rational bounds of that understanding.

So why has the rule of law not kicked in yet for him? The longer the delay in applying the rule of law, the deeper he digs in here.

This may be his objective as he is wanted back in his own country on money- laundering charges. The more we wait, the more he insulates himself with his brand of instigative and provocative overtures.

The custodians of our criminal justice system must ensure that everyone is subject to the laws of the land without fear or favour. Action must be taken swiftly regardless of any sociopolitical pressure. That is the hallmark of fair and firm enforcement.

We must not subscribe to selective prosecution for fear of upsetting those in the corridors of power. The 1MDB scandal should be the yardstick for why firm action is required early and swiftly.

And yes, I am a Hindu, born here and my loyalty is to the nation and the Malaysian people.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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