By Muhammad Abdurrahman
An Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has warned those calling for the arrest of Dr Zakir Naik to mind their business. The organisation insists that the Islamic preacher is exercising his Allah-given fundamental human right of freedom of movement under international law. MURIC further warned that anybody found embarrassing to the Sultan’s guest would face the wrath of Nigerian Muslims.
The warning was handed down on Sunday, 5th November 2023, by the Executive Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The full statement reads:
“A campaign of calumny and religious hatred has been unleashed on an international Islamic figure, Dr Zakir Naik, who is currently in Nigeria. Dr Zakir Naik is in the country on the invitation of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar.
“The campaign is being sponsored by Christians who are jittery. They are aware of the visitor’s oratory, intellectual prowess and amazing ability to convince his audience with indubitable facts. We remind these overzealous interlopers that Dr Zakir Naik is exercising his Allah-given fundamental human right of freedom of movement.
“Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations guarantees the right to freedom of movement around the globe without interference. It says, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
“Those behind this shameful exercise are meddlesome interlopers and Muslim haters disguising themselves as public commentators. They are motivated by hate, ignorance and gymnastic religiosity.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we warn that anybody found embarrassing an official guest of His Eminence the Sultan and head of more than 150 million Nigerian Muslims will face the wrath of Muslims in this country.
“Why are our Christian neighbours so intolerant? How many times have Muslims raised objections when Christians invite foreign preachers? Several Christian preachers have toured this country without any Muslim protesting.
“We recall the way Louis Farrakhan, the black American Muslim leader, was disallowed from giving a lecture in Nigeria in 1986. That ugly and disgraceful incident was engineered by the same set of people. It must not happen again.
“To those who are pursuing this ignoble goal, we say, ‘Take notice that Dr Zakir Naik is not Louis Farrakhan and Nigeria of 1986 is different from Nigeria in 2023. Nigerian Muslims of today, under a dynamic and visionary leadership, can give measure for measure.’
“The whole world knows the Indian government for what it is when it comes to religious tolerance. The crimes of the Indian state against its Muslim population of 204 million Muslims are legendary. Muslim haters in Nigeria should allow the Indian government to convince Interpol to do its dirty work for it.
“India has failed to involve Interpol because its allegations against Dr Zakir Naik are religiously motivated. How did the Islamic scholar travel across several countries without Interpol arresting him if, indeed, he is a wanted person? Let the Indian government convince Interpol first.
“As far as we are concerned, Dr Zakir Naik has not broken any known law of Nigeria. He is, therefore, innocent and free to move around and deliver lectures. We remind the law enforcement agencies of their duty to ensure the safety and security of this Islamic scholar. Nothing must happen to him. It is needless to assert that any guest of the Sultan is a guest of all Nigerian Muslims.”