Malaysiakini NEWS

Afif wants Zakir to say sorry, but supports his right to refuge

Published:  |  Modified:

A Penang PKR Youth leader has urged Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik to apologise to Malaysians for questioning their loyalty to the country and for labelling them "guests."

In a statement today, Dr Afif Bahardin said he felt compelled to point out that Zakir's remarks go beyond what manners compel of an individual seeking protection in the country.

"I am urging Zakir to immediately apologise to Malaysians and to stop any activities that could invite polemics and disrupt the harmony of our Malaysian society.

"This demand is necessary to ease the pressure and dissatisfaction among many Malaysians who were totally upset by his statement," he said.

To rebuff those calling for his extradition to his home country India, Zakir said in a ceramah on Thursday that Chinese Malaysians, as "old guests," should leave the country before he does.

At the same event, he also claimed that Hindu Malaysians were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, although he later said he was misquoted.

Afif said that Zakir (photo), as a self-proclaimed religious scholar, should realise that the propagation of Islam should be a medium of peace, not enmity.

He stated, however, that he accepts the stand taken by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who has refused to extradite Zakir to India.

Zakir is wanted in his home country on charges of money laundering and terrorism. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Afif said the prime minister's decision should be accepted by all Malaysians.

"As long as there is no security guarantee and fair trial for Zakir by the Indian government, it is certainly a difficult decision we must make.

"The middle path taken by the prime minister is currently the best approach," he added. 

In an immediate response, DAP Batu Kawan secretary David Marshel said Afif appears to be unaware of how dangerous Zakir's remarks were as they could incite racial tension in the country.

Marshel said Afif should respect the urging by his fellow Chinese and Indian Malaysians who wanted to see Zakir deported from their homeland.

"It is not the first time that Zakir has insulted others by comparing religions in Malaysia.

"The forum in Kelantan was very bad as he continued to disparage Malaysians and hurt our feelings, " said the Seberang Perai Municipal councillor.

Marshel said multiracial Malaysians who loved this country would not forgive Zakir or any other person who tried to bring about disharmony in the nation by playing up issues of race and religion.

"Afif should be an elected representative who cares for the feelings of all who want Zakir out," he said.

"The people will not forgive you if you continue to support Zakir," added the president of NGO Malaysian Tamilar Kular.

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