New Delhi: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has issued an apology after he was barred from holding religious talks in several Malaysian states following his remarks against non-Muslim minorities, especially the Chinese and Hindus living there (Malaysia). Naik, who fled India on being charged with giving inflammatory speeches has been living in Malaysia for the last three years after getting permanent residency.

In his racial comments, Naik had said that Hindus in Malaysia get “100 times more rights” than the Muslim minority gets in India, and yet they support the “Prime Minister of India and not the Prime Minister of Malaysia”.

“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,” Naik reportedly said in a statement this morning.

“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.

Naik said that 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,” he stated.

Furthermore, he added, “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.”

Naik’s controversial speech

Despite facing calls for deportation by multiple parties, Naik called on the Malaysian Chinese to “go back” first as they were the “old guests” of the country.

“Later on, more people came and Malaysia became fully Muslim. Then you have the Chinese coming, the Indian coming, the British coming. They are our new guests. People call me a guest. So I said, before me, the Chinese were the guests. They aren’t born here. If you want the new guest to go first, (then) ask the old guests to go back. The Chinese weren’t born here, most of them. Maybe the new generation, yes,” Naik had said while addressing a religious talk last week.

He added,”If you want the guest to go back and those guest which (sic) are bringing peace in the community, they are benefit (sic) for the family.”

Barred From Speaking in Public

Seven states – Melaka, Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Sarawak – have decided to bar the controversial preacher from speaking in public. Malaysia’s former police chief Rahim Noor has urged the government to rescind his Permanent Resident (PR) status and return him to India.

“Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had commented that the government will consider rescinding his PR status if it is proven that he has committed criminal offences,” Noor was quoted as saying.

The Malaysian Prime Minister, who has backed the Muslim scholar several times before, said the preacher has gone too far with his recent racial comments.