Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On the ban of Dr Naik (and his "gay-bashing Jew-hating" values)

I first heard of Dr Zakir Naik during the RIS event, in 2005.

"Oh, you don't know Dr Naik? He's the best!" Said some of my friends. "You will hear him give a speech and immediately a dozen people will convert on stage."

I am not a keen proponent of people converting on stage (religion, to me, should be private and in my opinion new converts should not be a prop). Still, I remember attending his talk and seeing it as very entertaining. There is no debate that he is a highly effective public speaker. Yet ... something wasn't right.

Later, I reflected on what he said. There are two posts in the past on this blog where I recalled his speeches. One is "No Fun Please, We Are Muslims". The other topic was "Music and Its Power".

I had the opportunity to hear him speak on a few occasions. Today, I can see some sugar coating by some of his ardent supporters but to me there remained no doubt that he has very rigid opinions on what Islam is and what Muslims can do. He would not allow non-Muslims living in a Muslim country to spread their own religion because "they are wrong". Music is something that should almost be banned. I didn't witness the famous excerpt where he is alleged to have said homosexuals and those leaving from Islam should be killed, but my impression was that his attitude wouldn't be the friendliest to them.

Clearly he said a woman's lack of modest clothing would lead to her getting raped. He cited some statistics about how many women are getting raped in the USA and Canada all the time. Women who are of age and not married to a husband would become "public property", said Dr Naik. I remember hearing the word "public property" in that context. And no one, not even the women, got outraged.

People loved him for being able to cite verse numbers and chapter numbers of various holy books of all religions to underscore a point he was making. To me, the conclusions he were drawing seemed quite far fetched, yet people got offended when I pointed them out. How can he, I said, for example, ban a Jewish guy from spreading the Torah in a Muslim country when the Prophet Muhammad himself did no such thing? According to Muslims the Prophet was the perfect man leading the perfect state, yet in his state there was singing in the wedding and women were not prohibited to ride on camels and graves were not destroyed and Jews/Christians/Idolaters were free to spread their religion, and yet, are we today more pious than the Prophet?

To me, Dr Naik may be right on some things, but he was also wrong on a lot of others. To me, his views are not something I can identify with as a Western Muslim.

Is that why did Canada banned him? I can shed no tears on his ban, and if the argument is that his views are incompatible with Canadians then it's a fact.

Yet ... in another Toronto Star article it is stated he is banned (in Britain) for "unacceptable behaviour".

I was there at his "Every Muslim should be a terrorist" speech. He is being totally misquoted out of context for that one. To even cite that as a reason is being intellectually dishonest. As for the other statements, I agree then he does not espouse pro-Western views, and perhaps promote (indirectly or directly) hatred against certain groups or religions.

Then, why is Ann Coulter then allowed entry to Canada? Here's some of her quotes:
"I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo."

"Not all Muslims may be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims."

"I don't know if [former U.S. President Bill Clinton is] gay. But [former U.S. Vice President] Al Gore - total fag."

"[Canadians] better hope the United States does not roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."
Here is someone who has expressed hatred towards a religion (Islam), a group (gays/democrats/liberals), a Western country (Canada) and yet she is allowed entry to Canada. I could go on about other similar examples but it seems the ban on Dr Zakir Naik is hypocritical to say the least.

I agree that entry to Canada is a privilege for foreigners. But there should be a consistent fair set of standards applied when preventing entry. This is why I cannot support the ban on Dr Zakir Naik. He is no more gay-bashing anti-Canadian-values person than Ann Coulter.

I hope Muslims in Canada can use the ban as a positive development and turn this into an opportunity to develop home grown imams who espouse both Canadian and Islamic values (which are perfectly compatible - except, er, beer contests). Then we wouldn't need a faulty foreign role model.

22 comments:

Nafees Ahmed said...

I think you used the women becoming "public property" in the wrong context. I heard that speech from Dr. Naik and it was on the subject of why men can have upto 4 wives (when a non-muslim asked her a question on it).

He said something like women outnumber men in almost all the countries. So hypothetically assuming all the men get married and there are women left-over who want to marry but cannot find a man, has two undesirable options: 1) Become abstinent 2) become "public property".

So his point was if some women feel sorrow for the unmarried women and graciously share their husbands, then it will relieve the other women from becoming "public property".

In no way did he say women who chose not to marry automatically became public property.

Muslim Girl said...

I listened to Dr. Zakir Naik's speeches in the last Journey of Faith conference and never heard him say anything controversial or anti-Canadian. I don't know about rumours, I mean, if I have never personally heard a speaker say something weird/wrong (which I have heard quite a few), then I'm not going to hate on him. People tend to take things out of context and misunderstand.

So many people blame Farhat Hashmi for saying stuff but in all the lectures I have overheard my mom listening to her... she's never said anything wrong or controversial either.

I personally like Dr. Naik b/c his arguments are strong, and consider his ban as yet another proof of Canada's hypocritical views.

Suroor said...

One Muslim man I can't stand is Zakir Naik. Honestly I don't feel bad that he is being banned although I dislike Coulter more :)

BUT, but I appreciate this post and agree with it 100%. I think it is racist profiling.

Suroor said...

One Muslim man I can't stand is Zakir Naik. Honestly I don't feel bad that he is being banned although I dislike Coulter more :)

BUT, but I appreciate this post and agree with it 100%. I think it is racist profiling.

mezba said...

Nafees Ahmed, the thing is, I was there at that speech. He said women who are not married (when there is a surplus of women) can become 'private property'.

Now how wrong this answer is! What about countries where there is a surplus of men? Will he say men must therefore share wives? Will men become 'private property'?

The whole notion of explaining polygamy in this fashion is wrong. And no woman will graciously share her husband. Will you want to share your wife? It's exactly the same.

He DID say becoming "public property" was a choice left to women who did not marry.

Muslim Girl, I don't know who Farat Hashmi is, but I did hear those things said by Dr Naik, as well you can see many of his speeches on youtube.

The speech that turned me off Naik was when he vehemently said non muslims should NOT be allowed to preach their religion in a muslim country. Where does he get that junk?

Suroor, he is not even an Islamic scholar! His education is on something else! What he is good at, sometimes, is speaking. His views unfortunately are not mainstream Western. I fear that however there are many muslims who think like him.

Data Cruncher said...

Your logic about Ann Coutler is very poor. First of all the likes of her is a direct result of 9/11 and later 'efforts' of muslims. If Muslims become civilized and stop terrorizing the west, the likes of her, Michael Savage, Bill O Reilly, Robert Spencer would become jobless.
Coming to her, she sprouts anti islamic things as a measure to protect her country, USA. She is entitled to it. Zakir Naik, otoh, talks about other coutries in a disparaging way he has no business about.

Lemme give another example which muslims all the time. Germany has made it illegal to deny holocaust IN Germany. They don't expect other countries to follow that and citizens of other countries are allowed to deny holocaust (like actor Mel Gibson).
Muslim countries like Pakistan wants entire world to respect their feelings and do not indulge in cartoon drawings of Mohd. How are they similar.

mezba said...

Data Cruncher, Ann Coulter is not Canadian, she is American. Entering Canada for her is a priviledge.

Second, Dr Naik and others like him are also reacting to involvment of the West in countries ranging from Middle East, Pakistan to elsewhere. He is entitled to his opinion just as Coulter is to hers. Both are hateful and spiteful and should be denied entry to Canada if equal standards are followed.

Your last example is incomprehensible. You should expand on how it relates to this discussion.

Musa said...

He said something like women outnumber men in almost all the countries

I personally dont understand why this myth keep rearing its head every now and then. Of course Islam allows polygamy but lets not manufacture reasons to justify it.

The way Dr Zakir and many other people talk of a huge shortage of men, one would think that there are 10 women for every 8 men in Muslim countries.

I am pretty sure that in Muslim countries, women in marriage age outnumber men only in places like Iraq, Chechnya etc.
Ironically many Muslim commentators when trying to stress why polygamy is recommended quote the male-female ratio in western countries instead of referring to Muslim countries where women generally dont outnumber men by a large degree.

As for Dr Zakir, the reason he is popular is that there are hardly many desi scholars who can speak quickly in fluent English. Dr Zakir does that (albeit in Indian accented English), and suddenly he is the best thing since sliced bread.

mezba said...

Of course Islam allows polygamy but lets not manufacture reasons to justify it.

Exactly.

And then they always go on to portray men as beasts who NEED a whole variety of women to remain satisfied and how women should follow the noble example of the Companions and be co-wives.

One of the participants (speakers) at the recent Journey of Faith (where Dr Naik was to have spoken) has multiple wives despite living in the West.

Here is what I wrote on MM:

How can someone be married ‘shariah’ wise if one cannot be married officially? In Islam the marriage IS official registration of the marriage, telling everyone about it. If the second and third and fourth wives are not official wives, then what are they?

In Islam you have to treat all your wives equally. A man who by law of the land cannot have more than one registered wife is not treating his other wives equally, because the 2nd, 3rd and 4th wife do not have equal rights, the same right as the 1st wife, under law.

Therefore a man hell bent on marrying more than one wife, sharia-wise, should migrate to a country where multiple marriages are allowed. Otherwise he is not treating his wives equally, and is committing a major injustice. Therefore in my eyes he is NOT fit to be a scholar because he is not doing justice to his family – the ones who have the greatest right on him.


Apparently this wasn't logical and too much for some Dr Naik supporters.

Suroor said...

A major human flaw is that we quickly make humans into idols. The idea of supporting someone who thinks like us is so grand, and I would also say egoistic, that we can fight tooth and nail to support that person.

The ardent fans of any celebrity including Naik suffer from that same flaw. I love Hamza Yusuf but I disagree with him at times and I can't support him blindly. I actually agree more with Khalid Abou Fadl but again if he is wrong he is wrong.

That is why Mezba I totally support your comment on MM. Well done!

mezba said...

Suroor, it reminds me of Abu Bakr's statement after the death of the Prophet.

"He who worshiped Muhammad should know that Muhammad is dead. He who worships Allah should know that Allah is Eternal and can never die."

Nowadays, many in our community are so blindly into hero worship they can't even see it.

youngMuslimah said...

i grew up on zaki naik's lectures and i'll admit he is an expert in comparitive religion but he's no scholar.
i actually heard him use the term 'public property' too and find it quite offensive. i'm not married so does that make me a 'public property'? I thought in islam a muslim woman is asked to dress modestly so that they dont become 'public property'.
Moreover, i totally hate the way he compares the rate of rapes in saudi arabia and the US. I grew up in ksa and let me tell you it's not the perfect society as zakir naik makes it out to be.
Khair you'll never agree with someone 100% so take the good and ignore the bad..anyway, this should not be the reason behind his ban. What he said about the terrorist thing was totally taken out of context. If zaki naik had a contact email or something, i would definitely take my concerns up with him.

youngMuslimah said...

i grew up on zaki naik's lectures and i'll admit he is an expert in comparitive religion but he's no scholar. i actually heard him use the term 'public property' too and find it quite offensive. i'm not married so does that make me a 'public property'? I thought in islam a muslim woman is asked to dress modestly so that they dont become 'public property'.
Moreover, i totally hate the way he compares the rate of rapes in saudi arabia and the US. I grew up in ksa and let me tell you it's not the perfect society as zakir naik makes it out to be.
Khair you'll never agree with someone 100% so take the good and ignore the bad..anyway, this should not be the reason behind his ban. What he said about the terrorist thing was totally taken out of context. If zaki naik had a contact email or something, i would definitely take my concerns up with him.

mezba said...

Youngmuslimah, exactly. Zakir Naik is an expert perhaps on comparing religions, but not a scholar of Islam himself. He also highly idealises the life in Muslim countries, whereas it's not so in reality. People should take him with a grain of salt. Having said all that, it was not right to ban him.

Musa said...

Echoing YoungMuslimah, I have lost count of how many FOB-ish desis start arguments with "A woman is raped every x minutes in the USA while crime rate in Saudi Arabia is negligible due to the Shariah law".

Their argument fails on many counts, not least the fact that certain Arab countries jail rape victims (happened in Dubai recently, the woman was also disowned by her family for bringing shame).

But such people, and they are a significant number, always keep repeating "decadent, immoral west" like a mantra while praising Saudi Arabia....

mezba said...

Musa, they should take a look at the rape statistics in Pakistan!

mezba said...

According to this page, Dr Naik says,

"In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The U.S.A as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males."

I wonder HOW he knows that 33% of NYC men are gay?

And this is where he uses the word "public property".

Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes ‘public property’. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first.

Sanju said...

I saw your comment on the MM post... and this is the reply I wrote to one of the people arguing with you:

"In the case where the husband is injured, only immediate family (AKA first wife) would be allowed to see him. That is proof enough that the wives aren’t equal."

Yeesh.

mezba said...

Sanju, you are right. The first wife is the only real LEGAL wife.

Musa said...

People pointed out that women dont outnumber men in most countries, and even where they do, its generally women over 60 outnumbering men over 60. And here is the "rebuttal" from Dr Naik's fan:

Polygamy could still be practical even if the population of men were greater than women! Because we must not forget that it is the duty of the man to take care of his wife. Most men today are either poor, in jail, in the army, killed in battle etc. Therefore, there is still a shortage of men for women to get married to.

In other words, its better for a poor woman to become the 3rd wife of a rich man, instead of marrying a poor man. Dr Zakir's fans should enlighten as to what Fitna will happen when you have hoardes of unmarried poor men, as envisioned in their universe !

Musa said...

Also, Dr Zakirs credentials as a doctor become shaky when he says stuff as follows (i.e. a woman with more than one partner will give rise to STD's, but a man with more than 1 partner wont):

A woman who has more than one husband will have several sexual partners at the same time and has a high chance of acquiring venereal or sexually transmitted diseases which can also be transmitted back to her husband even if all of them have no extra-marital sex. This is not the case in a man having more than one wife, and none of them having extra-marital sex.

mezba said...

Musa, funny how he has access to facts the government doesn't!