In his 'open letter to Indians', released on Saturday morning, radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik positions himself as the ‘biggest name and most popular figure of the (Indian Muslim) community’, and portrays the government action against him as an attack on the community.
Naik also offers a veiled threat to the Indian government and investigative agencies that if he and his organisation Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) are banned in India, he would be welcomed by other Muslim countries with a "red carpet". He also says that such an action will be the "biggest jolt to the country’s democracy in recent times".
Naik once again justifies all the religious preaching he has done in the past 25 years and says that none of his words amount to violation of law and forced religious conversions — a claim the investigators have challenged. Naik ends his open letter quoting a verse from the Quran: For Allah says, 'They plot and plan, and Allah too plans. And the best of planners is Allah. (Al-Qur'an 3:54) Beshaq. Without doubt.
Ever since the radical preacher started attracting controversy in the aftermath of the Dhaka terror attacks (Naik was allegedly supposed to have inspired the Dhaka terrorists), Firstpost has cautioned against the preacher’s possible moves to give a religious, communal colour to the investigations and subsequent actions against him.
That is precisely what Naik is doing now, as is evident from his open letter. If this attempt is not checked at this point, the danger that lies ahead for the government and society is much bigger. If Naik manages to convince members in the Muslim community that this is an attack against the whole religion, it can trigger further problems in the society.
Many religious leaders among the Indian Muslims have already pointed out this danger. They have also warned their members to avoid listening to the speeches of the likes of Naik as they only spread wrong ideas of religion and could thus weaken the inter-religious harmony and secular fabric of this country.
Attempts to enforce the idea of religious supremacy, be it from any religion, need to be checked instantly. In this context, the content of Naik’s open letter needs to be studied by government agencies closely and given due importance in the course of the investigation.