By TwoCircles.net Staff Writer,
New Delhi: “I have spoken out on numerous occasions against all and any acts of terrorism and I have unequivocally condemned such acts of violence; acts including 9/11, 7/7 and 7/11 (serial train bombings in Mumbai) which are completely and absolutely unjustifiable on any basis,” eminent Islamic scholar Dr Zakir Naik had said on June 11, exactly a week before he was banned (June 18) from entering Britain for his alleged support to terrorism and “unacceptable behavior”.
Dr Naik had issued his signed statement in response to media reports in Britain preceding his scheduled visit (June 18-28), portraying him as “Preacher of Hate” and “Terror Backer”.
“I believe recent press reports in the UK media have given a warped and wholly unjustified impression of my work by portraying me as “Preacher of Hate” and “Terror Backer”. I categorically reject as falsehoods any such allegations. These are totally untrue and a misrepresentation of the truth. It appears these sensational headlines have been based on some of my quotes that have been given either without the relevant context or are completely wrong. It is clear from my talks, that in Islam, terrorism; the killing of innocent civilians is completely forbidden and as such I have unequivocally stated that no Muslim should be a terrorist.”
Dr Zakir Naik had clearly stated that during his UK tour he will give a message of peace and a clear and concise message to young British Muslims that terrorism and violent extremism, including suicide bombings killing innocent civilians have no place in Islam.
“My tour to the UK will be focused on delivering a message of peace based on Islamic values and bridging the gap of understanding between the major faiths. My visit will include engaging in constructive and positive dialogue between members of different communities and to dispel the misconceptions of Islam. I will be delivering a message of peace, unity respect and tolerance for any differences that may prevail. I also understand the sensitivities and current difficult climate prevailing within the west and therefore my tour will also include a clear and concise message to young British Muslims that terrorism and violent extremism, including suicide bombings killing innocent civilians, is totally unacceptable and has no place in Islamic life, based on the Glorious Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.”
“I hope to reach out to all youngsters and persons generally who promote confrontation and violence in the name of Islam; to engage in peaceful and constructive discussion with other communities, authorities and government to deal with any issues or grievances they may be fostering,” Dr Naik said in his June 11 statement on the letterhead of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation that he heads.
He had said that he was discussing with lawyers in UK seeking legal remedy for his distorted image in the British media.
“It appears that some of the quotes have been taken from edited and manipulated excerpts uploaded onto the you-tube website including a talk that I delivered in 1996 in Singapore which was prior to the 9/11 atrocity. I am currently seeking advice from lawyers in the UK on the legal remedy and actions in the light of these reports.”
But ignoring his clarification about his views on terrorism and the purpose of his UK visit, the British government decided to ban him from entering UK the day he was scheduled to – June 18.
Announcing the ban, British Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour.” She further said: “Coming to the UK is a privilege, not a right and I am not willing to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK.”
BBC quoted a spokesman for Dr Zakir Naik as describing the move “deeply regrettable”. The UK government had bowed to pressure from certain groups to exclude him, he said. The spokesman further said Dr Naik had been holding talks in the UK for 15 years and the decision to bar his entry was disappointing.
Meanwhile the Muslim Council of Britain has deplored British Government move to ban Dr. Zakir Naik from entering UK. The Council said UK Home Secretary Theresa May’s action “serves to demonise the very voices within the world ready for debate and discussion.”
[Photo by api.ning.com]