GEORGE TOWN: Penang mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor has said controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik is not an extremist, and the state supports this view, says Deputy Chief Minister 1 Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman.
According to him, although the preacher was not welcome in Penang, he backed Wan Salim's view that people should stop labelling the man as extremist.
"Wan Salim is right to say that Dr Zakir is not an extremist and is an expert in comparative religion.
"We have made a decision that Penang is not the right place for his speeches, but it was right for the mufti to say that the preacher has certain prowess.
Dr Zakir doesn't have extremist views' probably if it's in a closed environment and the right audience, his speeches would be accepted," said Ahmad Zakiyuddin to newsmen in Komtar on Tuesday (Aug 20).
Wan Salim had prior to this defended the preacher, saying people should shed the negative image of Dr Zakir and Malaysians should see what he truly is.
"Dr Zakir believes in dialogue in truly academic and rational manner.
He said with Islam as an official religion the preacher should be given more space for the faith to be spread in the country.
"As Muslims we are duty-bound to spread the word on Islam to all humans.
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