The renowned Indian, internationally acclaimed Islamic scholar Dr. Zakir Abdul-Karim Naik, has been banned an entry into UK apparently because of his “unacceptable behaviour” and that his visit “would not be conducive to the public good”. This uncalled for ban has earned wide criticism. Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has deplored Home Secretary Theresa May’s uncharacteristically intemperate move to ban Zakir Naik.
According to an MCB official, the Home Secretary’s action serves to demonise the very voices within the world ready for debate and discussion. “The tour would have been a golden opportunity for young Muslims who are eager to hear the true messages of Islam which promote understanding between communities”, the official added.
“It appears that Government has responded to a recent campaign of vilification against the scholar, ignoring what Dr Naik stated on 11th June 2010”, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari said while expressing his grave concern at the decision.
Dr. Naik is to challenge the ruling in the courts. The Islamic Research Foundation, Mumbai, said he was seeking a judicial review in the High Court.
“This exclusion order demonstrates the double standards practised by the government concerning freedom of speech. While preachers of hate such as Geert Wilders are free to promote their bigotry in this country, respected Muslim scholars such as Dr Naik are refused entry to the UK under false pretences. It is deeply regrettable and this is likely to cause serious damage to community cohesion in our country”, he added.
The IRF said in a statement: “It is deeply regrettable the British Government has bowed to pressure from sectarian and Islamophobic pressure groups by preventing the entry of Dr Zakir Naik, who has been visiting and delivering talks in the United Kingdom for the past 15 years.
“Dr Zakir Naik is undoubtedly an opponent of terrorism and as such has often spoken out against all acts of violence and violent extremism. He has emphatically and unequivocally condemned the killing of civilians and is one of the world’s regular noted orators on this topic. “In the wake of the exclusion order and based on legal advice, Dr Zakir Naik intends to bring the matter before the High Court... and request a judicial review to have the exclusion order overturned.”