GEORGE TOWN, April 16 ― Fariq Naik, the son and protege of controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik, blamed the media last night for what he described as a widespread misconception of Islam in a two-hour talk here.
In the Friday night talk on the matter, this is due to how the religion is presented in the media.
“The lies of the media is very powerful, it can turn black into white, day into night, villain into hero, hero into villain, whatever label the media gives to a person, that label gets stuck to that person,” he said.
This is also why, he said, there is a global fear of “terrorists” as the word is used to describe a person who “causes terror”.
“For a robber, he's terrified of policeman so to a robber, the policeman is a terrorist,” he gave as an example, adding that the word “terrorist” is now so commonly used to spread fear among people.
He even cited George Washington as an example of a “terrorist” back in 1775 when the British ruled America. When America obtained its freedom later, this “terrorist” became the president of the United States, he said.
He also blamed the media for wrongfully accusing Islam of subjugating women.
He said that if Islam subjugates women, the millions of Muslim women around the world would not even exist today.
“These American and European Muslim women were not forced to become Muslims,” he pointed out.
According to Fariq, there are 10 common misconceptions about Islam, including that concerning the meaning of the jihad (Muslim holy war), why Muslim men could marry four wives, why they face a certain direction when praying and why they can't eat pork.
He gave lengthy explanations on each point, sometimes blaming the media for causing these misconceptions, and even drew comparisons between the Quran, Bible, Talmud and Vedas.
He claimed that the Bible, Talmud and even Vedas allow men to have many wives while the Quran is the only religious book on earth that contains the phrase “marry only one”.
He pointed out that Lord Krishna, the Hindu deity, had 16,108 wives, which meant Hindu men were allowed to have as many wives as they like.
He said in Islam, men are allowed to marry up to four wives but only on the condition that they are able to treat each spouse well.
“The Quran also mentions that it is optional… so whether the man marries one or four, there is no reward,” he said.
Later, at a brief press conference, Fariq defended his father by insisting that his and Dr Zakir’s talks do not encompass comparing the different religions.
“He only draws similarities between the holy books of Quran, Bible and Vedas to unite all so that we can only follow one single religious book,” he said.
Dr Zakir is due to give two lectures this weekend, one in Bukit Jalil today and another in Malacca tomorrow. His talk in Terengganu last night ― his fourth since arriving to Malaysia on April 9 ― reportedly drew a crowd of about 40,000 to the Astaka field in Kemaman.
The Malacca event, which had been to compare Hinduism and Islam, was initially cancelled by the Inspector-General of Police, who said such a topic was not beneficial here.
The talk was restored after Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim met with Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who directed the preacher not to compare religions for his lectures here.
Dr Zakir previously angered the Hindu community in Malaysia by allegedly insulting their deities along with the vegetarian practices of the faith.
Hindu and Indian groups still insist that Dr Zakir’s lectures not be allowed to proceed, with some also calling for his deportation.