Urge Zakir Naik to act positively on Anas Zubedy’s Open Letter to leave Malaysia voluntarily

I have read Anas Zubedy’s Open Letter to Zakir Naik yesterday giving four reasons why the latter should leave Malaysia voluntarily, and I cannot agree more with Anas.

Anas first praised Zakir Naik’s stand on the problem of Sunni-Syiah divide, that there is no Sunni or Syiah divide in the Quran and the Prophet was neither.

Anas said: “Your understanding of the Quran on this matter is par excellence and exemplary!

“It would be most beneficial to Muslim Unity in Malaysia if you can advise, explain and convince many of our local Ulama, even some muftis – many of whom you have shared a stage with, to stop this schism.

“For your information, it is a usual practice in many mosques all over Malaysia to paint the Syiah’s in a bad light especially during Friday sermons. If you advise them, they may listen to you. They respect you and want your approval. God-Willing they will pay heed.”

The four reasons Anas gave as to why Zakir Niak should leave Malaysia voluntarily are:

1) Zakir Naik’s presence is causing a family dispute

Using a family analogy, Anas said Malaysia’s situation is akin to when a senior family member brings in a friend to live in a home but the other siblings are against it. It causes unhappiness and tension within the family. The senior sibling is unhappy that the other siblings do not respect his or her opinion while the latter perceives that the former is insensitive to their needs and feelings. The situation then gets more complicated. It is not nice for the family member who brought him in to ask him to leave as that is very un-Malaysian. This a catch 22 situation. Zakir will need to volunteer and make it easy for the invitee.

2) Zakir Naik’s presence in Malaysia have negative impact on non-Muslims towards Islam

Anas has strong convictions that as a person who dedicates his life in the field of Da’wah, one of Zakir Naik’s main goals is to get non-Muslims to come closer to Islam. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, his presence is doing the opposite. It is counterproductive. If he volunteers to leave, he will be seen as noble and magnanimous and likely to alleviate this situation.

3) Comparative religious debates do not work in Malaysia

While in many parts of the world, debates between religionists are game, but not so in Malaysia. In Malaysia, Non-Muslims are not allowed to counter when Muslim speakers give their views about their faith, let alone start a debate about Islam. It is illegal to preach to Muslims.

In simple terms, Anas said that basically in Malaysia, when Muslims debate with Non-Muslims, it is like a fight where Muslims are allowed to punch the opponent as they please but non-Miuslims cannot punch back because their hands are tight to a tree.

Anas said Muslim religious leaders and preachers in Malaysia for the most part preach to their faithful by sharing the beauty of their religion without the need to compare or belittle the other. It has worked for sixty years. Malaysians live in peace and harmony and are a showcase to the world par excellence. With all due respect, Anas said “we want to keep it that way”.

Anas told Zakir: “I am not saying you must stop your debates. Do it elsewhere. Just don’t bring that culture to Malaysia, at least not till we have an equal playing field.”

4) Zakir Naik’s presence is slowing down Malaysia’s political revitalization

Anas said today there is not one Muslim political party in Malaysia that commands a clear leadership. Asking him to leave is sensitive. It can be used as a political fuel to attack the other. No Muslim based political party will be willing to do that.

“We are in a conundrum”, summed up Anas.

I fully agree with Anas and I hope that Zakir Naik will respond positively to Anas’ Open Letter.

(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport before departure for a week-long visit to Chennai, Bangalore and New Delhi on Thursday, 1st August 2019 at 7 am)

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