OPEN LETTER

Time to make amends

Open Letter to Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik

On gleaning your profile I realised that you are an erudite scholar, a knowledge bank on religion, not only your own Islam, but other religions as well. This is a rare distinction and I am certain that you would also have imbibed the essence of all religions and fathomed the fact that none of them advocate violence of any kind. Yet you have, in your discourses on Peace TV, often transgressed the limits and far from striving to spread the doctrine of peace you have only ended up inciting young men and women to take to arms, turn into suicide bombers and have, in your own subtle way, glorified terrorism and terrorists. Now that terrorists have confessed that you have influenced their line of thought, you have chosen to retreat into a shell and assert that you have never espoused terrorist causes of any kind. This, unfortunately, is pure balderdash, as all your speeches are on tape and your denials hardly make a difference. That a few governments have banned you is testimony to the fact that you have not conformed to the rules and have breached the trust of all those who have believed that you speak the gospel truth. It is time to make amends, Zakir Naik and channel your wisdom towards the progress of your people, especially those who hang on to your every word.

C.V. Aravind
Bengaluru

…....................................

Prove yourself innocent

The fundamental rule of 'being open' is to 'be visible' first. Your claims of not being a supporter of terrorism fell flat when you strategically stretched your stay abroad. Please do gather enough courage first to put your foot on this soil and then claim to be a nationalist. Your modus operandi of misleading innocent Muslim youth and then denying it is like a mischievous kid who throws stone on houses and runs away to elude capture. Your so-called motivational speeches from the safe studios were venomous and subversive. Instead of owning up, you labelled the videos as doctored. It was an act of utter cowardice. If you really are a reformer, which you claim to be, stand by your ideology—don’t be a quitter. If you really denounce the tag attached to you, come back and get it removed by facing an investigation.
If you are a genuine scholar, remember, lead by example, and don't recede in fear of getting trampled. Come back and prove that you have been misinterpreted—if it is true at all.

Rajneesh Batra
Delhi

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