Preacher Zakir Naik now claims that his remarks about Chinese Malaysians being guests were taken out of context.
While he did not dispute the quotes attributed to him, Zakir said his statement was meant to give historical context about the spread of Islam in the region as well as the migration of Chinese and Indians to Malaysia.
He denied these should be taken as a call for Chinese Malaysians to be expelled from the country.
The preacher also said his remarks were a response to calls for him to leave the country by persons he did not name, but were clear references to writer Anas Zubedy, and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.
He had initially remarked on Chinese Malaysians at a talk in Kelantan on Aug 8.
At the event, he had also allegedly made a controversial claim about Hindu Malaysians supporting the Indian government more than Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Similarly, he had said that his remarks about Hindu Malaysians were misquoted, and that he had been referring specifically to the community trusting the Indian government more on charges laid against him by his home country.
Zakir's statement in full, is as follows:
The vilification campaign against me is in full swing and is being done with a political motive. Out of my eight hours of talk, this time my haters have taken another point out of context to malign me.
Although the audience of the event did not find anything racial or communal in my speeches, the media is being fed stories of hatred and bigotry under false pretenses.
Sadly, I have no choice but to defend myself again because I cannot let misinformation pass by without clarifying.
This is the second time a statement has been taken out of context. And yes, modern technology enables you to do that.
It's being said that I said the Chinese should go back to their country. One of the headlines even said, “Outrage in Malaysia as Zakir Naik suggests Chinese expulsion”.
If this was really true, why did it take the media five days to bring it up? It is not true. Here’s why.
In my talk on “Misconceptions about Islam” in Kota Bharu on Aug 8, I replied to the fourth most common misconception about Islam that ‘Islam was spread by the sword’. This is what I said, in full context:
“These 75 percent non-Muslims in India, they are giving shahadah, they are bearing witness, that Islam wasn’t spread by the sword.
“Which Muslim army went to Indonesia, which has the largest population of Muslims in the world? Which Muslim army came to Malaysia? Which Muslim army went to the East Coast of Africa, where many countries—majority of the population—are Muslims? Which sword? They did by their akhlaq (character). Traders went.
“Which army came to Malaysia? Which army went to Indonesia? The majority, almost all, were non-Muslims, and almost all became Muslims, Masha’Allah.
“And later on, now there are people coming afterwards, Malaysia, became fully Muslim, then you had the Chinese coming, you had the Indians coming, the Britishers coming, they are our new guests.
“You know, somebody called me a guest, so I said, ‘Before me, the Chinese are the guests.’ They aren’t born here. So if you want the new guests to go, first ask the old guests to go back.
“The Chinese, they’re not born here, most of them. Maybe the new generation, yes. So if you want the guest to go back, and those guests, which are bringing peace in the community, they are a benefit for the family.”
While replying to the allegation that Islam was spread by the sword, I gave historical evidence that in most parts of the world, Islam was spread by the propagation of ideas and by good character, and not by the sword. This includes Malaysia, where majority of the population were non-Muslims, who later became Muslims.
At that time, nearly all Malaysians were Muslims. Later the Chinese, Indians and others migrated to Malaysia.
This ruckus was raised by a citizen of Malaysia who called me a “guest” and demanded I leave Malaysia. An influential Chinese politician agreed with him and voiced his support for the same. Who is he to ask me to leave?
In my reply to him and to everyone who backed his statement I had said, “If you want the new guests to go, first ask the old guests to go back.” This was a retort to his fallacious argument that as a guest I must leave the country.
I never suggested that the Chinese should leave; rather, I only pointed out the flaw in his argument by reminding him that he was as much a “guest” as I am. How does this suggest “Chinese expulsion” as my haters allege?
In my following statement I also made it clear that any “guest” bringing peace to the country must be encouraged to live here, whether Chinese or Indian or any other nationality. How can my reply to Chinese supporting demands of my deportation makes me communal to them?
I am a man whose mission is to spread peace and truth. But a few hatemongers, many with political agendas, want to disrupt my mission, and are attempting to do so by misquoting me and fabricating information against me.
Unfortunately, some Muslims too have fallen prey to their lies. Allah says, “O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done.” (Al Quran 49:6)
My request to the people of Malaysia and to the media, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, is to verify the information received - and the context - before believing in it or passing it on.
Please do not blindly believe every source of information you come across - including my statements - without verifying the truth.
Most of my lectures are available on YouTube and social media. I would appreciate if you would listen to my complete lecture or program, rather than listening to a small clip, before arriving at conclusions.
Nearly all non-Muslims who have watched my complete lectures, whether in India or Malaysia or anywhere else in the world, respect and appreciate my work, Alhamdulillah.
If the non-Muslims in Malaysia listen to some of my complete lectures, if not all, I’m sure they too will appreciate my work and support my mission.