eleaguered Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Friday said he denounces terrorism, but suicide bombing can be used as a tactic in wars.
eleaguered Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Friday said he denounces terrorism, but suicide bombing can be used as a tactic in wars. In his press interaction via video conferencing, Mr Naik refuted allegations of promoting terrorism and claimed that his “doctored” and “edited” video clips are shown out of context to malign him. He also said that the fanatical forces are getting more powerful after the Narendra Modi government came to power at the Centre.
Answering a question on suicide bombing, Mr Naik said most Islamic scholars say it is prohibited in all cases, but there are some scholars who say that if suicide bombing is used as a strategy of war it is permitted. “Almost all the times I made it very clear that as far as Islam is concerned suicide bombings used for terrorist attacks and killing innocent human beings is totally prohibited in the Quran,” he said.
Referring to a verse of the Quran, Mr Naik said murder is not permissible in all cases. He said, “If anyone kills any other human being, unless it be for murder or for spreading corruption in the land, it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity.”
“I make it very evident that suicide bombing used for killing any innocent human being, for any terrorist attack is prohibited in Islam, but I also went on to say, some of the times not all the times that if it is used as a strategy of war, with the permission of the army chief, it can be permitted,” Mr Naik added.
Addressing a press conference from Madina in Saudi Arabia through Skype, Mr Naik said he has no plans to return to India this year.
During the interaction, he also made a reference to the 2002 Gujarat riots. “If I had been a member of the ruling party or the information and broadcasting minister, I would have pulled up all those people (the media) who have been targeting a messenger of peace (himself). But the present government remains silent,” he said.
“Prime Minister Modi was banned in more countries than I am. But just because he won the elections, the situation for him has changed. See the Gujarat riots...So many cases have been filed against him. But nobody will ask him anything because he is the Prime Minister,” he added.
Mr Naik alleged that he is a victim of media trial and no Indian agency has approached him or his office to inquire about allegations of “influencing” the terrorists responsible for the Holey Artisan Bakery attack in Dhaka on July 1.
“He (one of the attackers, Rohan Imtiyaz) may have been my fan but to say that I inspired him to kill innocent human beings is devilish,” said Mr Naik. He added that Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star had initially claimed he had inspired the terrorist but had later apologised for misreporting. He also said no official source from the Bangladeshi government says they believe the July 1 attack was inspired by him.
Mr Naik accepted that Raheel Shaikh, a terror suspect, had worked as a volunteer in some of his programmes. “I did not know him personally and he was not part of our organisation. We have thousands of volunteers and he was one of them. When I came to know from media about him being a terror suspect I enquired my staff about him and when they said he was our volunteer, I asked them to remove his visuals from the videos so that people do not think he is part of IRF (Islamic Research Foundation, his organisation),” he added. Mr Naik, however, said he does not know about Abu Jundal.
Answering a question on Osama Bin Laden, Mr Naik said his stance on Bin Laden is same as on Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who is mired in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. “I cannot comment on people on whom I have not done any research. I don’t know anything about Laden or Sadhvi Pragya and hence I cannot say if they are saints or terrorists,” he said.
He also refused to take any stance on entry of women to Haji Ali Dragah saying the topic is “different.”
Explaining his comment asking “every Muslim” to be a terrorist, Mr Naik said the context of that speech was that he gave an example that if a robber sees a policeman, he is terrified. So for the robber, the policeman is a terrorist. In this context, he had said every Muslim should be a terrorist to the anti-social element, Mr Naik said.
On terrorist organisation ISIS killing innocent people, Mr Naik said they should be called “Anti-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” that has killed innocent human beings.
He denied he has any links with any political party or that he pumps funds into a party or terrorism. Mr Naik said he knows some politicians from different political parties and once even received a phone call from Bollywood actor and BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha asking him to campaign for him, considering his popularity.
He also said that neither he nor Peace TV is banned in India or anywhere else except in Bangladesh, where it was recently banned.
On the link of his organisation IRF being found on the website of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba’s Hafiz Saeed, he said this does not mean he is linked to them.