Embattled Islamic preacher: My sermon taken out of context

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After a slew of police reports had been lodged against him for allegedly inciting religious unrest, Muslim preacher Syakir Nasoha has come forward to explain his sermon was taken out of context.

In a YouTube video uploaded today, he said he delivered the original sermon lasting about one-and-a-half hours at the Abu Bakar Mosque in Sungai Petani, Kedah in 2017.

He said the video clip that went viral on social media recently only showed short segments from that sermon, and the meaning of some words may not have come across clearly especially to a non-Muslim audience.

“I don’t blame the person who edited the video. Perhaps he did so with good intentions but, because of the video, it caused misunderstanding among some quarters especially Buddhists, Hindus, and Dayak,” he said in today’s video.

Syakir said he was elaborating on a hadith (reports of what Prophet Muhammad said and did) where the Prophet warned that kafirs (infidels) would “terrorise” Muslims when Judgement Day approaches.

He illustrated this by giving examples of incidents abroad where Buddhists, Hindus, and Dayaks have attacked Muslims.

However, he said the word kafir in this context refers specifically to kafir harbi (infidels who oppose Islam), not kafir zimmi (infidels who are not opposed to Islam).

On the contrary, he said Islam encourages its followers to be on good terms with kafir zimmi and does not prohibit Muslims from engaging them in managing worldly affairs, as long as it does not violate the precepts of Islam.

He said his sermon was not only aimed at non-Muslims who are anti-Islam but also at those who claim to be Muslims but violate its teachings such as by engaging in terrorist activities.

Syakir added that he gave his sermon to a Muslim audience without realising he was being recorded.

“But when the video is taken and made public to non-Muslims, perhaps this would cause misunderstanding towards Muslims.

“Because to understand the hadith like the one I cited, it cannot be grasped instantly by just watching a video.

“Even for Muslims ourselves, learning about Islam takes a long time. It’d take years of study in schools and religious schools for us to understand.

“So, when watching just a single video, it can cause misunderstanding, especially for non-Muslims,” he said.

Previously, after Syakir’s sermon had gone viral, former Umno MP Tawfik Ismail reportedly lodged a police report against a preacher for allegedly insulting non-Muslim faiths.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism described the sermon as extreme, racist, and filled with hatred, and urged the government to take action against the preacher.

According to a report by The Sun yesterday, the NGO Global Human Rights Federation claimed it has lodged 3,000 police reports nationwide against Syakir, while the Malay Mail quoted Brickfields district police chief Anuar Omar saying on Sunday that five or six reports were received in his jurisdiction. – Malaysiakini