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    Zakir Naik apologises for hurt caused, says he's not a racist

    (Updated )

    Independent preacher Dr Zakir Naik has issued an apology for the hurt caused by his speeches to non-Muslims.

    Zakir said that he is not a racist and his remarks were "used selectively with fabrications added to them."

    "I have always been a man of peace because that's what the Quran stands for. It has been my mission to spread peace throughout the world. Unfortunately, I do face detractors who try to prevent me from carrying out my mission."

    "As you must have noticed for the past few days, I am being accused of causing racial discord in the country and my detractors have been using selected sentences taken out of context and adding strange fabrications into them," he said in a statement this morning.

    Yesterday, Zakir was questioned for more than 10 hours by Bukit Aman police and remained there past midnight.

    Zakir, who was accompanied by his lawyer Akhberdin Abdul Kader, had his statement recorded over comments he made during a ceramah earlier this month.

    Akhberdin told Malaysiakini that Zakir only left the police headquarters at around 1.30am today.

    The preacher said he was saddened that the episode has caused many non-Muslims to think of him as a racist.

    "It also worried me because the ones who are hurt have not heard my speeches, but based their impressions on out-of-context quotes of me."

    "That is a cause of concern for me because it brings harm to the image of Islam and serves to drive people away from it.

    "Racism is an evil I am staunchly against, as is the Quran, and it is the exact opposite of everything I stand for as an Islamic preacher," he said.

    Zakir was previously questioned for more than three hours last Friday, but later asked for a postponement to Monday.

    In a ceramah in Kota Bharu, the preacher suggested that those wanting him to be deported because he is a "guest" should instead ask Chinese Malaysians, whom he described as "old guests," to go home first.

    He also suggested that Hindu Malaysians were more supportive of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi than Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

    He later claimed those statements were taken out of context.

    In his statement today, Zakir quoted Prophet Muhammad who said: “No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, nor is a non-Arab superior to an Arab. A white person is not superior to a black, nor is a black person superior to a white.”

    Zakir added that even though he had clarified himself, an apology was due.

    "I feel I owe an apology to everyone who feels hurt because of this misunderstanding."

    "I do not want any of you to harbour ill feelings towards me. It was never my intention to upset any individual or community."

    "It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding," he said.

    Watch my full speeches please, says Zakir

    Zakir went on to appeal to the public, especially non-Muslims, to listen to his speeches in their entirety, and thanked the hundreds of thousands of people who stood in support.

    Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had previously defended the preacher from calls to deport him to India to face money laundering and other charges.

    The prime minister had said Zakir might not receive a fair trial under the Hindu nationalist government there.

    However, following Zakir’s statement about Chinese and Hindu Malaysians, Mahathir said the preacher had ventured into "racial politics," which breached the terms of his permanent residency.

    Zakir had relocated to Malaysia and said he will only return to India if he gets a written undertaking from the Indian government that he would not be arrested until his trials are completed.

    Today, Bukit Aman corporate communications head Asmawati Ahmad confirmed that authorities have now barred Zakir from delivering public talks in all states in Malaysia.

    This move was carried out in the interest of national security, Asmawati said.


    Zakir's statement in full:

    I have always been a man of peace because that's what Quran stands for. It has been my mission to spread peace throughout the world. Unfortunately, I do face detractors who try to prevent me from carrying out my mission.

    As you must have noticed for the past few days, I am being accused of causing racial discord in the country, and my detractors have been using selective sentences taken out of context and adding strange fabrications into them. Today, I have clarified my stance to the police.

    It, however, saddened me that this entire episode has caused many non-Muslims to think of me as a racist. It also worried me because the ones who are hurt have not heard my speeches, but based their impressions on out-of-context quotes of me.

    That is a cause of concern for me because it brings harm to the image of Islam and serves to drive people away from it. Racism is an evil I am staunchly against, as is the Quran, and it is the exact opposite of everything I stand for as an Islamic preacher.

    Prophet Muhammad said in his farewell pilgrimage, “No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, nor is a non-Arab superior to an Arab. A white person is not superior to a black, nor is a black person superior to a white.”

    Allah says, “O humankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allaah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allaah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” (Quran 49:13)

    Even though I have clarified myself, I feel I owe an apology to everyone who feels hurt because of this misunderstanding. I do not want any of you to harbour ill feelings towards me.

    It was never my intention to upset any individual or community. It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding.

    At the same time, I would also like to make a humble appeal to all of you, especially to the non-Muslims. Please take time to listen to my speeches in their entirety. My lectures are on YouTube, Peace TV, and the Peace TV mobile app.

    Last but not least, I am deeply touched by the hundreds of thousands of people who stood in my support. I would like to express my earnest gratitude to all of you. Jazaak Allaahu Khairan. May Allaah reward all of you with the best.


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    Zakir Naik in Bukit Aman past midnight

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