An interfaith body has joined the Opposition towards Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik, claiming today the televangelist of committing several offences in the Penal Code by provoking non-Muslims.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said it is disappointed that authorities have allegedly ignored warnings against Dr Zakir, and called for his visa to be withdrawn.
“Purported teachers of religion that are sponsored even by State authorities that has a tendency to incite hatred, odium and contempt on the practices, rituals and food of other religio-ethnic groups is totally unacceptable.
“It threatens to the way of life of all peace loving people and our mutual co-existence we have enjoyed for decades in our beloved nation,” the group said in a statement here.
MCCBCHST said Dr Zakir has contravened Sections 298 in the Penal Code that deals with “deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person”, and 298A on causing “disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will” on grounds of religion.
The offences are punishable by jail between two and five years.
“The Council supports freedom of speech and expression but any discourse touching on religion and beliefs should be subject to the parameters set forth in the Penal Code generally and more specifically to the bar of public reason and civility,” it said.
Last week, a group of 19 human rights activists filed a civil suit against the Malaysian government, accusing it of failing to protect the country from Salafist preacher Dr Zakir.
The suit, among others, sought a government declaration that Dr Zakir was a threat to national security, called for a ban to prevent him from entering the country, and for him to be arrested and deported immediately.
The group, comprising plaintiffs from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, said Dr Zakir was an “undesirable person” and “a preacher of hate” who was currently roaming free in Malaysia.
Besides Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy, the 19 plaintiffs included academic Dr Lim Teck Ghee, Sabah lawmaker Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, lawyers Siti Kassim and Asiah Abd Jalil, and Sarawak activist Peter John Jaban.
Other reliefs sought by the plaintiffs include a declaration that Dr Zakir is a threat to country’s security, unity as well as the peaceful and harmonious co-existence of its various faiths and races.
Source : @ Malay Mail Online