Seven States Now Ban Zakir

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The number of states where preacher Zakir Naik is free to speak is reducing, following the controversy over his recent speaking engagement in Kelantan.

So far, officials in charge of Islamic affairs in Kedah, Malacca, Selangor and Penang have stated they will not allow Zakir to speak in their territories.

Islamic preachers in all territories must obtain permission to deliver sermons from state authorities. However, other state enforcement agencies can play a factor as well.

Selangor’s Islamic Council (Mais) chairman Mohammed Khusrin Munawi said the decision to prohibit Zakir from speaking or preaching in Selangor was made given the controversy surrounding him currently.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said the Penang Islamic Council (MAIPP) believed Zakir’s views are not suitable for the state.

Zakir and his family were stopped from delivering speeches in Perlis over the weekend on advice from the police.

The preacher has been barred from entering Sarawak, which has control over its borders, for several years.

In Sabah, Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal said Zakir would be banned from entering the state if there are reports of the preacher having extremist views.

State officials from Perak, Johor and Sabah said there is no blanket ban on Zakir’s speaking events, but will scrutinise applications.

Perak Religious Committee chairman Asmuni Awi said the state won’t stop Zakir from speaking publicly but he must get permission first.

Johor Religious Islamic Department (JAIJ) director Md Rofiki A Shamsudin said it had never granted Zakir any approval to conduct religious talks.

Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Aminuddin Harun has been reported as saying the state has not received any application from Zakir to deliver talks there.

Zakir’s recent speaking event on Aug 8 in Kelantan courted flak after he suggested that Hindus in Malaysia were more loyal to the Indian prime minister than Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He also suggested that the Chinese community were “old guests” in Malaysia and should leave before asking “new guests” like him to leave.

Zakir is being investigated by the police over these remarks.

Mahathir said yesterday that the preacher had involved himself in “racial politics” and that he should not because he was a permanent resident.