Malaysia police ban preacher from giving talks

PHOTO: Geoffrey Pereira

PETALING JAYA - More protests have emerged against the move to allow controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik to give talks here, with the police banning him from speaking in Malacca.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said Dr Zakir had been barred from giving a talk this Sunday on "Similarities Between Hinduism and Islam" at Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka.

"@PDRMsia has decided not to let this forum to proceed for public order and religious sensitivities in Malaysia," he tweeted yesterday.

MIC Youth leader C. Sivarraajh welcomed the police directive, saying that allowing his talks to proceed would create unwanted racial disharmony.

In George Town, Penang Hindu Endowment Board chairman Dr P. Ramasamy asked the Penang government not to allow Dr Zakir to give a talk on "Misconceptions About Islam" at the Penang Caring Society Complex in Jalan Utama here on Friday.

Abu Shariz Badr, the programme director of the talks, said the organisers, comprising a group of NGOs, had asked for an official response from various groups, including the IGP, who have objected to Dr Zakir's presence in Malaysia.

"We can only confirm and deny anything once we receive written confirmation from them," he said yesterday.

Dr Zakir, who is India's Islamic Research Foundation president, started a series of lectures in Terengganu last week on the invitation of the state government.

He is scheduled to talk on "Is the Quran God's Word" at the hockey stadium in Bukit Jalil this Saturday.

The MIC Youth and Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) complained that Dr Zakir's presence in Malaysia has insulted the community.

He last visited Malaysia in 2012. His presence then also received similar protests by the Hindu community.

Dr Zakir, a recipient of Tokoh Maal Hijrah award in 2013, had reportedly angered the Hindu community by insulting their deities along with the vegetarian practices of the faith.

He has also been denied entry into Canada and Britain in 2012 after reportedly expressing support for terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

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