[Reader-list] The Trouble with Dr. Zakir Naik

Pawan Durani pawan.durani at gmail.com
Wed Jun 23 15:42:09 IST 2010


Dear Javed ,

Does this give me the liberty to accuse the 'combination' of you and
Shuddha ?  Zakir Naik is being discussed world over these days and we
should share all information with the other esteemed members.

One Javed or one Shuddha does not make the group .....

And has the group not been discussing Gujarat since last almost 10
years ? The self proclaimed "Secular" and "Intellectual" [ he he ]
never asked the debate to be stopped.

Pawan

On Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 12:05 PM, Javed <javedmasoo at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Pawan
> Its not just you alone - I think its a combination of you, Kshmendra
> and a few others who Shiddha is acusing. Don't you remember that just
> a few days ago you wanted to know why I am supporting as well as
> condemning Zakir Naik at the same time. Your earlier mails cannot be
> seen disconnected from this one. And I think here comes another one.
> Now that more people on list are rejecting Naik, why do you have to
> convince us again and again about his wrong-doings.
>
> I think you need a holiday please. Or some of us need one from you.
>
> Javed
>
> On Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 11:44 AM, Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Dear Shuddha ,
>>
>> Seems you have lost it ...lost it completely. Please ask others if
>> they consider you an intellectual and that too secular.
>>
>> I have shared an article about Zakir Naik , which i found interesting
>> . I have not even added a word to it , neither did I expect an
>> explanation on this from anyone.
>>
>> Seems Delhi heat is playing too much on you ....try Nainital.
>>
>> Your accusations against me were uncalled for.
>>
>> Pawan
>>
>>
>>
>> On Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM, shuddha at sarai.net <shuddha at sarai.net> wrote:
>>> Dear All, Yusuf, Pawan and Kshmendra,
>>>
>>> I am utterly amazed at the persistence of bigotry on this list. Thanks, Yusuf,
>>> for pointing out that Dr. Zakir Naik is someone who is anathema to very many
>>> Muslims. I have watched several of his internet broadcasts, and find him
>>> utterly, utterly laughable and prejudiced, and also either very ignorant, or
>>> very dissimulating about the history of Islamicate cultures. I have never had
>>> any hesitation in saying that people like Zakir Naik are charlatans, but I see
>>> no reason, why I (who identifies himself, and is identified, as a secular
>>> intellectual) or anyone bearing a Muslim name should have a specific
>>> responsibility to do so. My attitude towards him is not any different from my
>>> attitude towards Pravin Togadia (the rabid Hindu fanatic) or for that matter
>>> any fundamentalist or bigot of any persuasion.
>>>
>>> I find the kind of insinuations that have been made by Pawan and Kshmendra
>>> disturbing. I find it insulting that some people should expect others to have
>>> to have some kind of special responsibility to atone for the idiocies of others
>>> who might share an ethnicity or a religious background. A sometime
>>> Shankaracharya of Puri openly declared his support for untouchability and the
>>> Sati system, does this mean we should ask any and every believing Hindu to be
>>> accountable for his (the said Shankaracharya's) utterances, or for the utterly
>>> pathetic conduct of an outfit like the Rame Sene? If anyone were to suggest
>>> that I would find such a suggestion as offensive as the one being implied by
>>> those who are using Zakir Naik to cover for their bigotry.
>>>
>>> The fact that people on this list can hold others guilty by association,
>>> because of their name, or their beliefs, or assumed beliefs, is very sad
>>> indeed. It looks like the long and tragic history of prejudice in the twentieth
>>> century (or earlier) is something that some people still have difficulty
>>> learning from.
>>>
>>> best,
>>>
>>> Shuddha
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Tue, 22 Jun 2010 05:53:56 -0700 (PDT) Kshmendra Kaul
>>> <kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com> wrote
>>>
>>>> Dear Pawan
>>>>
>>>> Thanks for sharing this. An apt reading of the reality of the likes of Zakir
>>>> Naik and "India's purportedly secular intelligentsia".
>>>>
>>>> - "Unlike traditional clerics, Dr. Naik quotes freely from non-Muslim
>>>> scripture, including
>>>> the Bible and the Vedas. (You have to pay attention to realize that
>>>> invariably this is either to disparage other faiths, or to interpret them in
>>>> line with his version of Islam.)"
>>>>
>>>> - "Finally, unlike Hindu bigots, such as the World Hindu Council's Praveen
>>>> Togadia, whose fiercest critics tend to be fellow Hindus, radical Muslims go
>>>> largely unchallenged."
>>>>
>>>> - "Moreover, most of India's purportedly secular intelligentsia remains loath
>>>> to criticize Islam, even in its most radical form, lest this be interpreted
>>>> as sympathy for Hindu nationalism."
>>>>
>>>> - "Unless this changes, unless Indians find the ability to criticize a
>>>> radical Islamic preacher such as Dr. Naik as robustly as they would his Hindu
>>>> equivalent, the idea of Indian secularism will remain deeplyflawed."
>>>>
>>>> Kshmendra
>>>>
>>>> --- On Tue, 6/22/10, Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> From: Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com>
>>>> Subject: [Reader-list] The Trouble with Dr. Zakir Naik
>>>> To: "reader-list" <reader-list at sarai.net>
>>>> Date: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 1:48 PM
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Source :
>>>> http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704365204575317833268479268.htm
>>>> l?mod=WSJINDIA_hps_sections_opinion
>>>>
>>>> "Britain's decision to bar an influential Muslim cleric from entering
>>>> the country underscores the failure of Indian secularism."
>>>>
>>>> By SADANAND DHUME
>>>>
>>>> If you're looking for a snapshot of India's hapless response to
>>>> radical Islam, then look no further than Bombay-based cleric Dr. Zakir
>>>> Naik. In India, the 44-year-old Dr. Naik—a medical doctor by training
>>>> and a televangelist by vocation—is a widely respected figure, feted by
>>>> newspapers and gushed over by television anchors. The British,
>>>> however, want no part of him. On Friday, the newly elected
>>>> Conservative-led government announced that it would not allow Dr. Naik
>>>> to enter Britain to deliver a series of lectures. According to Home
>>>> Secretary Theresa May, the televangelist has made "numerous comments"
>>>> that are evidence of his "unacceptable behavior."
>>>>
>>>> The good doctor's views run the gamut from nutty to vile, so it's hard
>>>> to pinpoint which of them has landed him in trouble. For instance,
>>>> though Dr. Naik has condemned terrorism, at times he also appears to
>>>> condone it. "If he [Osama bin Laden] is fighting the enemies of Islam,
>>>> I am for him," he said in a widely watched 2007 YouTube diatribe. "If
>>>> he is terrorizing the terrorists, if he is terrorizing America the
>>>> terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him. Every Muslim should
>>>> be a terrorist."
>>>>
>>>> Dr. Naik recommends the death penalty for homosexuals and for apostasy
>>>> from the faith, which he likens to wartime treason. He calls for India
>>>> to be ruled by the medieval tenets of Shariah law. He supports a ban
>>>> on the construction of non-Muslim places of worship in Muslim lands
>>>> and the Taliban's bombing of the Bamiyan Buddhas. He says revealing
>>>> clothes make Western women "more susceptible to rape." Not
>>>> surprisingly, Dr. Naik believes that Jews "control America" and are
>>>> the "strongest in enmity to Muslims."
>>>>
>>>> Of course, every faith has its share of cranks; and, arguably, India
>>>> has more than its share. But it's impossible to relegate Dr. Naik to
>>>> Indian Islam's fringe. Earlier this year, the Indian Express listed
>>>> him as the country's 89th most powerful person, ahead of Nobel
>>>> Laureate economist Amartya Sen, eminent lawyer and former attorney
>>>> general Soli Sorabjee, and former Indian Premier League cricket
>>>> commissioner Lalit Modi. Dr. Naik's satellite TV channel, Peace TV,
>>>> claims a global viewership of up to 50 million people in 125
>>>> countries. On YouTube, a search for Dr. Naik turns up more than 36,000
>>>> hits.
>>>>
>>>> Nobody accuses Dr. Naik of direct involvement in terrorism, but those
>>>> reportedly drawn to his message include Najibullah Zazi, the
>>>> Afghan-American arrested last year for planning suicide attacks on the
>>>> New York subway; Rahil Sheikh, accused of involvement in a series of
>>>> train bombings in Bombay in 2006; and Kafeel Ahmed, the Bangalore man
>>>> fatally injured in a failed suicide attack on Glasgow airport in 2007.
>>>>
>>>> Nonetheless, when the doctor appears on a mainstream Indian news
>>>> channel, his interviewers tend to be deferential. Senior journalist
>>>> and presenter Shekhar Gupta breathlessly introduced his guest last
>>>> year as a "rock star of televangelism" who teaches "modern Islam" and
>>>> "his own interpretation of all the faiths around the world." A handful
>>>> of journalists—among them Praveen Swami of the Hindu, and the grand
>>>> old man of Indian letters, Khushwant Singh—have questioned Dr. Naik's
>>>> views, but most take his carefully crafted image of moderation at face
>>>> value.
>>>>
>>>> At first glance, it's easy to understand why. Unlike the foaming
>>>> mullah of caricature, Dr. Naik eschews traditional clothing for a suit
>>>> and tie. His background as a doctor and his often gentle demeanor set
>>>> him apart, as does his preaching in English. Unlike traditional
>>>> clerics, Dr. Naik quotes freely from non-Muslim scripture, including
>>>> the Bible and the Vedas. (You have to pay attention to realize that
>>>> invariably this is either to disparage other faiths, or to interpret
>>>> them in line with his version of Islam.) The depth of Dr. Naik's
>>>> learning is easily apparent.
>>>>
>>>> But this doesn't fully explain Dr. Naik's escape from criticism. It
>>>> helps that Indians appear to have trouble distinguishing between free
>>>> speech and hate speech. In a Western democracy, demanding the murder
>>>> of homosexuals and the second-class treatment of non-Muslims would
>>>> likely attract public censure or a law suit. In India, it goes
>>>> unchallenged as long as it has a religious imprimatur. However, create
>>>> a book or a painting that ruffles religious sentiment, as the writer
>>>> Taslima Nasreen and the painter M. F. Husain both discovered, and
>>>> either the government or a mob of pious vigilantes will strive to
>>>> muzzle you.
>>>>
>>>> In general, India accords extra deference to allegedly holy men of all
>>>> stripes unlike, say, France, which strives to keep religion out of the
>>>> public square. Taxpayers subsidize the Haj pilgrimage for pious
>>>> Muslims and a similar, albeit much less expensive, journey for Hindus
>>>> to a sacred lake in Tibet. This reflexive deference effectively grants
>>>> the likes of Dr. Naik—along with all manner of Hindu and Christian
>>>> charlatans—protection against the kind of robust scrutiny he would
>>>> face in most other democracies.
>>>>
>>>> Finally, unlike Hindu bigots, such as the World Hindu Council's
>>>> Praveen Togadia, whose fiercest critics tend to be fellow Hindus,
>>>> radical Muslims go largely unchallenged. The vast majority of Indian
>>>> Muslims remain moderate, but their leaders are often fundamentalists
>>>> and the community has done a poor job of policing its own ranks.
>>>> Moreover, most of India's purportedly secular intelligentsia remains
>>>> loath to criticize Islam, even in its most radical form, lest this be
>>>> interpreted as sympathy for Hindu nationalism.
>>>>
>>>> Unless this changes, unless Indians find the ability to criticize a
>>>> radical Islamic preacher such as Dr. Naik as robustly as they would
>>>> his Hindu equivalent, the idea of Indian secularism will remain deeply
>>>> flawed.
>>>>
>>>> Mr. Dhume, a columnist for WSJ.com, is writing a book on the new
>>>> Indian middle class.
>>>> _________________________________________
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>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _________________________________________
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>>>
>>>
>>>
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