PETALING JAYA: Preacher Zakir Naik (pic) should stop instigating Malaysians, says the National Patriots Association (Patriot).
"Zakir spoke and questioned the loyalty of Malaysians of Indian origin, trying to curry favour with our prime minister, " said Patriot president Brig-Jen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji.
In a speech in Kota Baru recently, Zakir was reported to have compared the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India, saying that the Hindus here enjoyed more than 100% rights in Malaysia compared to Muslims in India.
He also alleged that the Hindus here were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In a press release on Tuesday (Aug 13) in response to this, Mohamed Arshad added that Zakir had also "severely criticised" China over the alleged mistreatment of Uighur Muslims, which he said threatens to sour the relationship between Malaysia and China.
"Any sensitive issue on the Uighur Muslims is best left to our Foreign Ministry. Patriot would like to see Zakir shut up for now, " said Mohamed Arshad.
"Patriot has no issue if Zakir sticks to his Islamic evangelism work, but do not compare religions. Malaysians have learnt that comparing religions is a taboo, " he added
Mohamed Arshad pointed out that Zakir was invited into the country in 2013 and awarded permanent resident status by the previous government.
"The regime then used Zakir as a tool for diversion tactics. He was a convenient distraction from the 1MDB scandal that had surfaced, " said Mohamed Arshad.
He said that after calls for his deportation, Zakir has stopped comparing religions and encroached into politics and international relations.
"What he uttered about the Hindus in Malaysia and the accusations about China did not reflect on him as a scholar. A scholar is one who is very careful with words and looks at issues objectively, " said Mohamed Arshad.
He added that Zakir's remarks questioning the loyalty of Malaysian Hindus showed that Zakir is " ignorant, dishonest, and has an ulterior motive and a hidden agenda".
Mohamed Arshad said that Malaysians of Indian origin are loyal to the country.
"They have contributed tremendously along with other ethnic groups by serving in the security forces, defending our King and country. Several officers and men were awarded gallantry medals fighting our nation's enemies, " he added.
Indian citizen preacher Zakir has stirred controversy in Malaysia with his open evangelism criticising non-Muslims.
He is wanted in India over corruption charges but he was not deported, with certain parties saying that the charges were trumped-up.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has since admitted that Malaysia was in a catch-22 situation as Zakir was "an unwelcome guest Malaysia can't send away".