BAND OF FANATICS: THE ZAKIR NAIK SHOW

4 03 2009


Source: weekly Blitz

– VOLUME – 4, ISSUE – 9, DHAKA, FEBRUARY 18, 2009


Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury



To a large section of the television viewers in Asia, Dr. Zakir Naik is a known name. This is mostly because of the prominent presence of his Islamist television channel named ´Peace TV´, which claims it to be the ´solution for humanity´. Dr. Naik operates this channel from Britain under the banner of an organization named Islamic Research Foundation and Peace TV runs with heavy donation and contribution by Muslims from a part of their Zakat, as well as donations from various Afro-Arab sources. According to Islamic dictionary, Zakat or ´alms for the poor´ is the Islamic principle of giving a percentage of one´s income to charity. It is often compared to the system of tithing and alms, but it serves principally as the welfare contribution to poor and deprived people in the Muslim lands, although others may have a rightful share. Zakat’s similar-sounding, Arabic language analog is the Hebrew word Tzedakah, the charitable obligation in ancient Israel through to present day Judaism. It is the duty of the Islamic state not just to collect Zakat, but to distribute it fairly as well. Zakat is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Speakers in PeaceTV, who regularly appear in the programs are Dr. Zakir Naik [India], Ahmed Deedat [South Africa], Dr. Bilal Philips [Canada], Yassir Fazaga [USA], Abdur Rahim Green [UK], Hussein Ye [Malaysia], Dr. Jafar Idris [Sudan], Salem Al Amry [UAE], Dr. Israr Ahmed [Pakistan], Maulana Parekh [India] etc. But, only one person, who occupies almost 65 per cent of the program segments of this television channel, is Dr. Zakir Naik himself. And, surely, with the slogan of ´solution for humanity´, Dr. Zakir spreads religious hatred, poison, and regularly attacks Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and other religions in the world and cleverly tries to project Bible, Torah and other Holy Scriptures as fake or changed. Dr. Zakir Naik, being a fanatic Muslim not only tries to continue his own way of spreading religious hatred and extremism through his so-called lectures but even promotes the idea of jihad and Islamist aggressions. He has definitely found a very effective tool, when he was able to establish PeaceTV, and now continuing his hate speech agenda as well as his own publicity and promotional programs to project other members of his family as ´Islamic Scholars´ [which includes his minor son and daughter]. And millions of dollars donated mostly by Muslim from the portion of their Zakat fund is going right inside the pocket of Dr. Zakir Naik, and he leads a very lavish life while spending this fund not only for running his own PeaceTV but also for buying luxury and comfort for other members of his family.

By profession although Zakir Naik claims himself to be a medical practitioner, it is not clear as to why he left this noble profession thus entering the full time job of one of the most expensive Islamist lecturers in the world. The fact is, Dr. Zakir Naik is a failed medical practitioner, who found the excellent opportunity of memorizing only some selected verses of Koran and other Holy Books thus appearing to the people with his own interpretation of Islam and very tactfully injecting poison of religious hatred as well as jihadist notion.

Most interesting part of Dr. Zakir Naik is, he also considered to be the champion of his mockery and cheating people around the world, with hundreds of people listening to his lecture in ´Hinglish´ [English in Indian pronunciation] with fullest dedication. In reality, let it be noted that, only a small segment of Indian population are comfortable with English. Moreover, the huge crowd shown in Zakir´s lectures in India is mostly half educated clergies who surely do not understand what Zakir speaks of. If any of the programs will be carefully watched then it will become clear that the audience have no reaction at all on what he says, rather they just sit with semi open or even closed eyes in front of television cameras, thus giving chance to Dr. Zakir Naik to claim to be educating a huge crowd. Some critics even say that, most of these audiences are hired by Islamic Research Foundation with the objective of giving an impression mostly to the patrons of Dr. Zakir and his PeaceTV in the Middle East, that, Islam is really becoming increasingly powerful and prominent in a non-Muslim country like India.

According to some experts, while Al Qaida serves the armed segment of religious terror, Dr. Zakir Naik´s PeaceTV covers the media segment of the same agenda. For example, Dr. Zakir will first attract the attention of people towards his lectures by giving similarities between Islam and other religious beliefs, while at the next step, he comes up to prove all other religions to be fake and Holy Scriptures false through a number of programs like ´Crossfire´, ´Truth Revealed´ etc. Some even opine that, while Al Qaida´s existence is mostly in hiding, Zakir Naik is continuing his offensives openly, which is a much greater threat to global peace and harmony.

In one of the programs on PeaceTV, Dr. Zakir Naik said in Urdu, Jesus Christ never claimed himself to be a Christian. And according to Zakir, Jesus was also a Muslim. By saying this, Dr. Zakir wanted to convince the audience that, there is no divine religion except Islam in this world, since the ancient times.

Dr. Zakir Naik is gradually expanding his influence over a number of media bases in Europe, America and Asia. Recently in Glasgow [UK], a radio presentator named Rev. Mahboob Masih was sacked from a radio station named Awaz FM just because he his co-presenter Afzal Umeed were discussing the views of a prominent Muslim speaker, Zakir Naik, who the Rev Masih accuses of belittling the Christian faith on Peace TV, a digital channel.

Later, Rev. Masih lodged a complaint with Ofcom, the radio regulator, claiming that Awaz FM is in breach of the terms of its license. It alleges “discrimination against members of Asian Christian Community by [the] Muslim management of Awaz FM.”

Commenting on Dr. Zakir Naik, an eminent Indian sociologist Imtiaz Ahmed said, “Brought up on the heavy dose of Saudi Arabia-backed Salafist-Wahabi Islam, Naik follows a supremacist ideology.”The Saudis think they have a divine right to convert Muslims across the world into a puritanical Salafist Islam. Naik is their public face,”

He said, “The exclusivist Wahabism is inimical to an inclusive, tolerant Islam practiced in India. I have heard him a couple of times on TV and am deeply disappointed.”

Dr. Zakir Naik, on a number of occasions, defended Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida. His remark on Osama bin Laden had created quite a controversy some time back. “If Osama bin Laden is terrorizing America or the enemies of Islam, every Muslim should become a terrorist. I can’t call Osama a terrorist because his involvement in the dastardly act of 9/11 is not proved,” Naik had said, defending the most wanted man in the world.

Advertisements




opinion: A just war on terror —Rafia Zakaria

24 01 2009

Source: Dailytimes

A just war on terror can only be a war that abandons force and invests faith in the idea that if people are no longer bombed in the name of protecting America, they will themselves join the just fight against terror?

On January 2, 2009, his first day in office, Barack Obama ordered the shutting down of Guantanamo Bay within a year. This pivotal move was long expected by his supporters and marked the beginning of what has been touted as the forthcoming theme of Obama’s nascent presidency: regaining America’s moral stature in the world.

By all accounts, shutting down Guantanamo seems to be a calculated symbolic first move, putting a dramatic and visible end to the kind of flippant rejection of the rule of law so closely associated with the Bush-Cheney Administration.

In addition to the Guantanamo order, another executive order forbade the use of torture in the interrogation of terror suspects in an effort to show, in the president’s own words, “that we are able to follow the core standards of conduct not solely when it is easy but also when it is hard.”

However, the closure of Guantanamo and the official cessation of the use of torture, welcome as it is, puts into focus what will be the Obama administration’s most challenging task in the days ahead: redefining the war on terror as a just war. Inherent in this project is reconfiguring not simply the means and rules by which America conducts warfare but also taking a second look at the strategic goals that Obama has not questioned in his campaign.

One notable example of these is the oft-repeated American aim of catching and imprisoning Osama bin Laden, something Obama has continually recounted during his campaign speeches. The issue of bin Laden’s pursuit and the concomitant portrayal of the Afghan war as the “right” and “just” war by Obama raises the question: can an unmanned drone attack on Pakistani territory in pursuit of this goal, and the killing of innocent civilians that routinely accompanies such attacks, be considered a “just” act equally capable of the moral high ground America achieves to recapture?

The answer from the Pakistani side is no, but will Americans be tempted to believe that all sins of the Bush Administration have been instantly absolved with the closure of Guantanamo and the forbidding of torture?

If they do indulge in such moral compartmentalisation where constitutional flouting in America is considered impermissible but killing civilians abroad is not, then little will have changed in the moral calculus of evaluating America. Americans may indeed believe themselves redeemed by eliminating the visible symbol of Guantanamo, but the rest of the world, most prominently the Muslim world towards which Obama has extended a conciliatory hand, will shake its head with the same disgust and disappointment that has marked its relationship with America in the past eight years.

The juxtaposition of the symbol of Guantanamo and the use of military power against civilians illustrates how both are ultimately symbols of imperial overreach that cannot be reconciled with moral leadership. It also brings forth another crucial dynamic of the war on terror: the gaping economic chasm existing between the countries where it is conceptualised and the countries where it is waged.

Take for example the following scenario: if a future terrorist attack on the United States were traced to a small village on the outskirts of London, how would the United States respond? Would a surgical strike that eliminates the village be an option?

The scenario sounds ludicrous since no one would even consider such a route, but the underlying logic it exposes is integral to understanding the moral dimensions of a war that is waged in a certain way when it involves poor countries and another where rich industrialised nations are involved.

Imagine further if such a strike on an English village is permitted and an unmanned drone kills members of a wedding party. It is undoubted, of course, that the world would be up in arms with moral outrage; there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was an unjust act, despite the presence of possible terrorists.

The purpose of drawing attention to such a hypothetical scenario is not to argue for its plausibility or probability but to emphasise how the Obama’s administration’s strategic military goals may clash with their stated moral goals. This often unaddressed aspect of the war on terror has successfully been used by Islamist groups to cast the struggle as one between the world’s haves and its have-nots. A war where powerful nations can gloss over the sovereignty of poor ones and the lives of the cab drivers in Gaza cannot be equivalent to those of the ones in New York City is thus as much a moral quagmire as Guantanamo and the use of torture.

Recasting the war on terror requires re-evaluating the use of any military options against civilian populations. Support for groups like Al Qaeda and the Tehreek-e Taliban in the Muslim world persists because they are unfailingly able to portray themselves as the “little guy”, the weapon-less, ragtag warriors of faith fighting a military behemoth armed with drones and F-16s. The populations where they have taken root are all identify with being the “little guy”, and when a bomb falls on their village, the memory of burned CD shops, destroyed schools and public floggings fades under the deafening onslaught of an enemy that can kill without sending a single soldier.

In other words, the inherent destruction promised by military operations cannot possibly salvage moral standing for a superpower with much blood on its hands.

Undoubtedly, the impending closure of Guantanamo shows that the Obama administration is invested in turning the tide. The precept that insists that the Guantanamo inmates could be held indefinitely, tortured and refused a fair trial is the same doctrine that says civilian populations in areas where Al Qaeda may be hiding are mere collateral damage.

Accepting this fundamental similarity and abandoning both as epithets of the imperial overreach that has so maligned America in the Bush years requires elevating moral leadership not simply as a rhetorical theme but as a priority superseding the nation’s reliance on brute military force. A just war on terror, thus, can only be a war that abandons force and invests faith in the idea that if people are no longer bombed in the name of protecting America, they will themselves join the just fight against terror.

Rafia Zakaria is an attorney living in the United States where she teaches courses on Constitutional Law and Political Philosophy. She can be contacted at rafia.zakaria@gmail.com





HATRED – Terror’s only religion Himanshu Shekhar

2 10 2008
Source: Zee News
Himanshu Shekhar

“What people in the West simply don’t understand is that we love death even more than they love life.” – Osama bin Laden, November 1996.

It was 2002 when I was in first year of my college when an image released on Israeli television and published in leading magazines across the world hit me. The image titled ‘Hebron’s Baby Bomber’ sparked a worldwide debate. A debate which still remains relevant. Which religion teaches one to engage an infant baby of hardly 18 months for killing others? Definitely not Islam.

We are in times when the world is reeling under terror strikes which have a lasting impact and India is no exception. Terrorism is back in focus or perhaps it was never out of frame. That brings us to a simple question- why do some people love death more than life? As a modern civic society/ state are we prepared to counter the menace?

It is a basic challenge to locate and fix the problem first before embarking on curative measures. Who are these people? What is their religion? What is their mission?

London, Karachi, Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi – blasts had one thing in common and that was their techno savvy nature. An email sent from a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection just before all these attacks from ‘Indian-Mujahideen,’ clearly means that terrorists were with a mission or at least they projected one. Once again the name given to such dastardly coward act was ‘Jihad’.

It is true that those who are lured to indulge in such acts are misguided. People who are frustrated because of the political climate are the first targets. There’s no denying the fact the socio- economic factors are the ingredients in making of terror.

SIMI’s indoctrination

As the investigations reveal, the act was perpetrated by a new group named Indian Mujahideen which worked in tandem with the banned outfit SIMI. The roots of most serial blasts, which sent down jitters in India, were traced to Azamgarh – now referred to as India’s ‘terror hub.’ To say that it’s only the socio economic backwardness of the people is the only reason which pushes them towards these acts would be totally wrong. It’s the rich, the more affluent, highly educated and technologically advanced men who have been involved in the masterminding of these plots.

All the accused arrested in recent spate of blasts are in early 20s and one thing they had in mind was injustice meted out to people of their community in Gujarat riots. The mail sent by IM was just a confirmation of the sentiment. It is this sense of being denied due justice that lead the masterminds picking disgruntled youth.

A paper submitted by Marc Sagemen, a renowned expert on understanding of terror network, to the Tiffin University in Ohio says, “It is not a specific organization but a social movement consisting of a set more or less formal organizations, linked in patterns of interaction ranging from the fairly centralized to the more decentralized.”

Sagemen in his report further adds, “Some nodes are more popular and are attached to more links, connecting them to more isolated nodes.” Azamgarh was probably that isolated node to which these groups have now connected. Internet has definitely aided that inter-linkage.

Technology has increasingly helped terror groups in a way that they can successfully share their failure and success world wide. While the Delhi Police raided the ‘Batla House’ in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, it was believed that these terrorists were doing a case study.

It is a really dangerous sign as it questions the very base of India’s secular credentials. The fact that a chunk of Indian Muslims feel they are ‘others’ when incidents like Gujarat or Babri demolition occur, in itself is disturbing because it hits the very ‘Idea of India’.

I- Factor

That brings us to another rudimentary question of terror’s linkage with religion. Are those who are perpetrators of this heinous and ghastly act there to spread Caliphate? Answer probably is big NO. Islam also means: as Salam, a word that signifies surrender. MJ Akbar in his book Shade of Swords writes, “But the Islamic faith from time to time also demands a holy war defined by specific circumstances, blood of the faithful in defence of the faith.”

Akbar further adds, “Shahada: Lailaha- il- Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasul-Allah” – which means there is but one Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet. And those who become martyrs of Allah are the Shaheed.

It is these lines which are misinterpreted the most. A report submitted by Adam Fosson on cause and effect of ‘Martyrdom’ quotes Sheikh Yasin (a Hamas leader) as saying, “Love of martyrdom is something deep inside the heart. But these rewards are not in themselves the goal of a martyr. The only aim is to win Allah’s satisfaction. And it is Allah who selects martyrs.”

Indian Mujahideen clearly seem to get their inspiration from such misinterpretations. Probably Prophet Mohammad insisted on holy war against the enemy inside. For that matter the feeling shared by Indian Muslims can be really heart wrenching. ‘What can you say if after every terror attacks your own friends see you suspiciously just because you also follow the religion of those involved in these ghastly acts?” Their feelings can be best explained by these immortal lines of Iqbal in his masterpiece ‘Shikwa’;

Hai baja shewa-e-taslim mein mashhoor hain hum Kissa –e- dard sunate hain ki majboor hain hum.

(We won renown for submitting to Your will – and it is so; We speak out now, we are compelled to repeat our tale of woe.) Translation by: Khuswant Singh

It would be wrong for anyone to question Islam or Muslims as that would erroneously include all those Indian Muslims who have led their lives as good citizens trying to improve the lot of their country. India today is the emerging power in the world because all sections of society be it Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees and all others have contributed towards it. Can one question Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s patriotism?

All those people who decided to choose India as their country during partition are Indian first and alienating or seeing them through cataract eyes would just be questioning the very concept of secular India. The fight against terror can begin only after killing its religion which undoubtedly is ‘HATRED’.