Following the tragic and inhuman attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 1st July 2016, against innocent civilians by a group of young men, allegedly affiliated to the terror group ISIS, reports have started to appear in Indian newspapers, which deliberately attempt to link Islamic Scholar Dr. Zakir Naik to the attackers.
The reports claim that Dr. Zakir Naik, in his speeches has called on Muslims to "be terrorists" and have linked him to be an inspiration behind two of the attackers behind the massacre (Source: ET). They claim that one of them had shared Dr. Naik's quote on Facebook (Source: ET), and another followed him on Twitter (Source: The Hindu).
"Every Muslim should be a terrorist remark" - Dr.Zakir Naik has been purposely quoted out of context here. What Dr.Zakir Naik said was - "A terrorist is a person who causes terror. The moment a robber sees a policeman he is terrified. A policeman is a terrorist for the robber. Similarly every Muslim should be a terrorist for the antisocial elements of society, such as thieves, dacoits and rapists. Whenever such an anti-social element sees a Muslim, he should be terrified. It is true that the word ‘terrorist’ is generally used for a person who causes terror among the common people. But a true Muslim should only be a terrorist to selective people i.e. anti-social elements, and not to the common innocent people. In fact a Muslim should be a source of peace for innocent people."
Regarding the claim that one of the terrorists quoted Dr.Zaik Naik on Facebook - Again here, does it prove anything at all. Should the newspapers not have stated what he said exactly and how that influenced the terrorists to carry out an attack.
Dr. Zakir Naik is a world-renowned Islamic scholar and speaker, who is a doctor by education. For more than two decades now, Dr. Naik has been giving lectures and holding debates with numerous high-ranking figures of various faiths across the world, including India.
In his speeches and debates, which is available on the internet, he mainly talks about comparative religion, quoting religious texts of various faiths to bridge gaps between communities.
Dr. Zakir Naik has stated many times that ISIS is 'un-Islamic’ and has called the terror group enemies of Islam. Dr.Zakir has unequivocally said "By using the name Islamic State, we are condemning Islam… They are the anti-Islamic state of Iraq and Syria that has killed innocent foreigners. The name is given by enemies of Islam". (Source: DC)
So the question is, If Dr. Naik says ISIS is 'un-Islamic’, how can he inspire ISIS terrorists?
It is not only misleading, for newspapers to link a public figure like Dr. Naik -who millions of Muslims listen to around the world- to the attackers, but in reports such as this (Source: The Hindu) and this (Source: NDTV) false information has been published to tarnish his image.
The report dated July 05, 2016, in NDTV states that Dr. Naik is banned in Malaysia, which is again untrue. He recently gave a lecture in Malaysia (Source: Astro Awani).
Newspapers' role is to report facts, based on thorough investigation and not to publish over-blown, stigmatising and scaremongering reports, as is clearly evident in these and many other reports.
The vilification campaign headed by Indian media against Dr. Zakir Naik must stop.
The below-signed petitioners request that the Press Council of India investigate the agenda behind these reports, and have them cease their campaign of hate and vilification towards Dr. Zakir Naik. We also urge the Council to demand the media houses involved, to issue an apology to Dr. Zakir Naik for tarnishing his image and making a criminal out of a law-abiding and peace loving citizen of India. Please sign and share this petition and together we can have the malicious campaign against Dr. Zakir Naik stopped.