Following his widely admonished statement regarding the “guest” status and loyalty of some Malaysians, Zakir Naik has been today summoned for the second time to police headquarters at Bukit Aman to have his statement recorded.
Police are investigating claims that say the Indian national spoke at a Kelantan talk earlier this month with intention to insult and provoke disharmony. He was to be questioned at 3pm today, after having already been questioned on Friday.
In his Kelantan talk, given on Aug. 8, Naik told attendees that while his voluntary departure was being called for in some quarters, he countered that ethnic Chinese, along with Indians and Malaysia’s British colonizers were, like him, once “new guests.”
“You know, someone called me a guest. So, I said — before me, the Chinese were the guests. If you want the new guest to go first, ask the old guest to go back,” he said.
“The Chinese aren’t born here, most of them. Maybe the new generations, yes.”
Many high-profile Malaysians, hailing from all of our country’s many backgrounds, have since denounced his statements. Several ministers have called for his deportation, and Johor’s own Permaisuri (Queen consort), Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, today posted a unifying message on the state’s royal family Facebook page today.
“One thing I do know for sure, however, is that my Chinese grandmother was as Malaysian as I am myself. I know too that my children – even with their mixed blood heritage – are also as Malaysian as I am.”
She included a photo of her Perak-born, Chinese grandmother holding her eldest son.
Her post made no mention of the preacher, but was a welcome reminder that Malaysia is country woven together of many different ethnicities.
Zakir’s statements were recorded on video, but following calls from many quarters for the permanent residency holder to be deported back to India for preaching divisiveness, he is now claiming that he was misquoted.
The preacher is a wanted man by Delhi, by the way, who accuse him of money laundering and inciting extremism through his speeches.
Meanwhile, Melaka has joined several states in banning Zakir from holding religious talks in the state, with Chief Minister Adly Zahari saying his “state government avoids any issued that could strain race relationships.”
Melaka joins Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Perlis, and Sarawak as states that have banned the preacher from public speaking, with Sarawak going as far as denying him entry into the state.
With many states refusing Zakir the public stage he relies on for his combative brand of “comparative religion,” is it time for the preacher to find a new, welcoming home?