“Peace TV” Spawning Strife*

Of late, while watching TV I have come across a channel called “Peace TV”.  The star performer is one Dr Zakir Naik, probably from Maharashtra.  However, the address depicted on the channel is the Islamic Research Foundation based in Birmingham, U.K.  This channel portends to propagate peace by promoting Islamic values.  It seeks to portray the supremacy of Islam, and the scientific / rational nature of the Holy Quran Sharif.  It also studies comparative religion, with references to Christian and Hindu scriptures and scholars.  Apparently quite innocuous.  Not really.

 

I have carefully observed Dr. Naik’s programmes and have grave reservations about the style, content and purpose.  Peace is a misnomer for his show; because he is constantly deriding and belittling Christian beliefs, doctrines and its scriptures.  Since my knowledge of Hindu scriptures is rather limited I consider myself incompetent to comment on his approach to Hinduism.  I would, however, hazard a guess that Naik will tread carefully when talking about Hinduism, because he cannot afford to antagonise the majority community in India.  He would not be able to face the flak from the Bajrang Dal, VHP or even Raj Thackeray.  So the soft target in India is the Christian community.  He seeks to exalt Islam by deriding Christianity.

 

Let us first examine the content of Naik’s teaching. We have no quarrel in his expounding the virtues of Islam and Islamic scriptures.  The problem arises when he begins quoting from the Bible, with chapter and verse.  He picks and chooses texts that suit his trend of thought.  He then goes on to “prove” that Jesus never claimed divinity, or that there is no reference to the Holy Trinity in the Bible.  He quotes various anomalies in the Old Testament to prove its inaccuracies, thereby deducing that the Bible is unreliable and therefore cannot be the Word of God.  He quotes from Genesis and God “resting on the seventh day”, and wondering what kind of a “God” is this, that gets tired and needs a rest!

 

An average biblical scholar would easily answer these allegations/ half truths, if he got the chance.  But no such chance is afforded to Christian scholars of repute, by Peace TV.  Naik also made a startling claim that Christian organisations/ evangelists have tons of money for evangelisation, and they are well trained in the art of communication, body language, etc!  I wonder if Naik ever heard a sonorous Sunday sermon in our churches?

 

Another dangerous trend is Naik’s attitude to civil law.  He advises Muslims in India not to have a court marriage, as by so doing this would be subjugating Muslim Personal Law to civil law.  This is a dangerous mindset.  Perhaps Naik is unaware that Goa, which inherited Portuguese laws, as against British in the rest of India, has a uniform civil code.  Accordingly, all marriages – be they Christian, Hindu or Muslim, have to first be registered in the civil courts, before any religious ceremony can take place.

 

Naik selectively chooses texts to suit his line of thought.  “To choose” in Greek is hairein, which is the root for the English word “heresy”.  One who chooses conveniently is propounding heresy, which is what Naik is doing vis-à-vis Christianity.

 

What of Naik’s style?  Peace TV shows him addressing vast audiences sitting in rapt attention.  The settings seem Indian, but Naik always talks in English!  Why?  How many Indian Muslim masses in his audiences would understand English?  So why does Naik talk in English?  Who then is the real target of his Peace TV broadcast?  Something to think about.  Another amazing thing is that Naik quotes chapter and verse, not just from the Holy Quran Sharif, but even from the Bible and Hindu scriptures like the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita, etc.  Somebody from his audience asks a random question and Naik has the answer at the tip of his fingers; chapter and verse!  Either the questions are stage managed, or the broadcast is slickly edited to portray Naik as a superhuman brain that can quote ad verbatim from various scriptures.  As he speaks the text with chapter and verse appears as a sub-title on the TV screen.  Gullible audiences just lap this up.

 

So what is Naik really aiming at?  The supremacy of Islam, at the cost of other religions.  His constant appeals for “zakat” and donations to his accounts in the U,K, also indicate that lots of money is involved.  Running an international TV channel on prime time, devoid of advertising revenue, obviously costs a packet.  Even the behemoth Catholic Church does not have such a set up.  None of the preachers on GOD, Miracle, Astha or Sanskar channels can match Naik and Peace TV for techno-savvy wizardry and audio-visual effects.  Naik is master of his medium.

 

But somewhere the bubble must burst.  Naik was to address a gathering in Allahabad recently.  But Shia and Barelvi Muslims protested, and Naik’s meeting was cancelled.  It was to be rescheduled in Kanpur (my hometown) but again the aforesaid sections of Muslims protested, and the Government refused permission for Naik’s programme, citing a law and order problem.

 

For those not familiar with Islamic groups, the Shias are a breakaway group of Muslims, who are relatively progressive in outlook.  The Barelvis are Sunni Muslims with their religious headquarters in Bareilly in UP.  They are also a moderate group that have adopted Indian/ Hindu customs like burning incense and praying for the dead.  Naik seems to belong to the Wahabee group that rules Saudi Arabia. (Remember that Churches cannot be built there, nor can one take a Bible, rosary or Christmas card there.  They are so intolerant of “others”).  In India the Deobandis are akin to the Arabian Wahabees.  Deoband is a small town in Saharanpur district, also in U.P.  It is from Deoband that strange fatwas emanate; like a woman raped by her own father-in-law being told that her husband has now become her son!

 

In view of the above, Christians in India should not allow Naik’s pyrotechnics to go unchallenged.  I have already written a strong letter of protest to him at his email ID zakir@irf.net.  I have requested the AICU leadership to take up the matter with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.  I hope that the CBCI will also act accordingly.  In fact I am amazed at how ignorant and lackadaisical our current crop of leaders is.  May I request whoever reads this article to please watch “Peace TV” to ascertain the truth of what I am saying.  Thereafter readers should express their views to Naik at the aforesaid email ID.  A copy may please be marked to me at noronha@vsnl.com  

 

“Peace TV” is a grave matter.  Let us address it before we find ourselves in the grave, with or without peace.

 

* The author (chhotebhai) is a former National President of the All India Catholic Union (AICU)

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7 Comments

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7 responses to ““Peace TV” Spawning Strife*

  1. allen

    you are right in many ways,
    thanks for taking the trouble to write this important article.

    sincerely
    allenbhai

  2. Moeenuddeen

    Assalamualaikum: May Peace be on You.
    Brother I have read your blog and frankly there are many loopholes in the comments you wrote about Dr. Zakir Naik. I assume that your comments were not made desperately to prove Dr. Zakir Naik wrong but it is because of lack of knowledge regarding him.
    1. You said that Dr. Zakir Naik is deriding Christianity and other beliefs. Dr. Zakir Naik quotes verbatim from the religious scriptures with reference in front of thousands of audiences. There fore he cannot deride a belief unless the belief derides itself.
    2. You said that an average biblical scholar can easily answer his allegations. May be you are not aware of the Debate held in Chicago between Dr. Zakir Naik and William Campbell on the topic “Quran and the Bible in the light of Science”. William Campbell is a scientist with a profound knowledge of Bible and Arabic Language. He even wrote a book against Islam, which was totally proved wrong by Dr. Zakir Naik. You can watch the video on Youtube or click the following search link: http://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&q=Dr.+Zakir+Naik+Debates+William+Cambell&btnG=Google+Search&meta=
    I am surprised that you never came across any of the Debates of Dr. Zakir Naik with the Christian Missionaries and Hindu Scholars (like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) though it’s constantly being aired on Peace Tv.
    Regarding “THE DANGEROUS TREND”, it’s the Indian Constitution which allows Muslims to abide by the Muslim Personal Law and it’s being done since many years. So this “dangerous mindset” haven’t yet caused any problems and will not cause any even in the future (God Willing).
    I am impressed with your knowledge of Greek language. Please share some of your knowledge with the Christian Missionaries who Debate with Dr. Zakir Naik.
    Regarding why Dr. Zakir Naik talks in English? This very question was asked to Dr. Zakir Naik during one of his talks. There are about a thousand urdu speaking Islamic scholars in India but English speaking are very few. Moreover Dr. Zakir Naik talks are held more outside India than in India. His talks were held in Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Singapore, America, UK and many other countries.
    Your claim that the questions asked in Dr.Zakir Naik talks are pre planned is baseless. Because Dr. Zakir Naik talk was even held in my home town which was organised by my uncle himself.
    Regarding how can Dr. Zakir Naik have the answers on the tip of his fingers, is actually because of his experience Every year Dr. Zakir Naik gives about 100 talks of which majority are outside India.
    This is the verse of the Qur’an which majority of the Muslims believe in including Dr. Zakir Naik. Allah clearly says in Surah Anam, Ch. 6, and V. 159. ‘Anyone who breaks the Religion into sects, Allah has nothing to do with him.’
    There is no such thing as wahabees, deobands etc. in Islam. These are the things created by some people who lack knowledge of Islam. We all are Muslims but some are religious and some aren’t same as in Christianity. It is people like you who try to divide us for their personal gain.
    We know we will have opposition against the truth from all sectors of society because “Truth is Bitter”
    Saudi Arabians are intolerant to nonsense like rosary, valentine day, Halloween, New year, Christmas cards etc. Tell me the truth does the Christians celebrate Christmas in the same way Jesus [Peace be upon him] ordered them to do. Moreover, did He [PBUH] even ever asked you to Celebrate Christmas?
    Regarding your request AICU, Ministry of Information Broadcast, I would like to say only one thing: Mr. you are wasting time and energy.
    Before anyone else I advice you to watch Peace TV 24/7, so that you can come out of your imaginary world.
    Peace TV is also being aired in US, UK, Australia, UAE etc.

    Peace be on those who receive guidance.

  3. mustafa hussain.

    assalamualaikum, (may peace, blessings,mercy of almighty allah(s.w.t) be on all of you).

    first of all, to tell that of late, while watching tv, all the thoughts came, is by itself a lie & clearly pre planned article. the author of the article should stop barking against zakir naik & islam, because nothing is going to happen against islam.

    i thank br. moinudeen for clearing all the misconceptions about the illegal & unscientific , illogical article

    wassalam.

  4. K.A Jose

    Religion is based only on faith and belief…
    It may have short comings but it will be better if we accept the better part as all religions are good… also it is better, if we better avoid un-necessary comments on any religion as it’s a sensitive issue purely based on faith… respect other people’s faith…
    K.A.Jose, Jaipur

  5. Dr. Remy Y. Denis

    Dear Mr. Zakir Naik,
    After watching your programme on Peace T.V., I thought of communicating with you that we live in a community. We all have brains, almost equal in capacity, equivalent to 2 lakh super computers .The difference is in the application of the brain. A gentleman, a right thinking person applies his brain to use his learning in imparting knowledge and wisdom, his wealth he gifts to the needy and he applies his strength and power to protect the upright while a person of opposite character applies his brain to create dispute and disorder, his wealth creates pride in him and he applies his strength to harm and persecute other people. By all means you do not seem to fall in the first category.
    Dear Mr.Naik, you claim that you are a highly qualified person and have crystal clear knowledge .May I tell you that I am a very highly qualified person, Topper of Post Graduate,Ph.D. and D.S.c.( A Post Docorate degree in Science in the most difficult subject the academic world has seen i.e. Ramanujan’s Mathematics) having a unique position in the world, in my own particular subject but still I feel that I know very little .In fact the more you know you realize that you know little and much more is left to learn .This is the case with every great person in the human history. More over knowledge in itself is not enough. You should know that knowledge without wisdom is very dangerous. The person who invented knife is not to be blamed but the one who uses it without having the wisdom of how to use it.
    You very promptly and cleverly answer the queries of pre planted people which gives an impression that you are really very clever. Could you please explain why all the four legs of an elephant turn behind, while in case of rest of the four legged animals the front legs turn behind and the hind legs turn in front? Similarly the grains in a wheat and barley plant are in rows of alternately odd and even number of grains . Similar is the case of plantains. This order is never disturbed in any of the above plants. So many creations of god exist which have no explanations though they can be explored.
    Dear Mr. Naik, your discourses prove that you have a very shallow knowledge of the scriptures of Christianity and Hinduism besides your own, yet you put your views with authority where you cut a very sorry figure. You should remember that if you try to distort the facts with your ill- conceived ideas you try to hide its salient features in the same way as the grass covers the pathways in the country side during the rainy season and misguides the walking folk, leading them into an illusion.
    Bible is the word of God besides being a very dangerous book because unless you prove a scripture yourself it becomes poison, as in your case .I advice you not to preach something which you have not practiced yourself. Although each one is free to have his /her own opinion about a particular point, he / she is not supposed to propagate it and malign other faiths. Last but not the least, may I remind you that, though the Indian Constitution permits each one of us to profess , practice and propagate the faith of our own choice, but strictly, it is not unconditional but subject to public order .
    I request you to stop your malicious preaching against other faiths including Islam failing which we shall be forced to take necessary steps to prevent you from continuing your nefarious design.
    With Peace of the Lord
    Dated: November 08, 2008
    Dr. Remy Y. Denis, National President, All India Catholic Union

  6. Pingback: Peace Becomes Graver Still « NewsGrab

  7. Nirmal Sha

    Dear Author:
    I was hearing the same kind of stuff until I had a chance to watch and analyse for myself the reality about Dr. Zakir Naik.
    I have not seen or even heard about a guy like Dr. Zakir Naik who can show that there is ONE GOD common to all humanity and that too with hard proof from multiple religious scriptures. Scientific accuracy of Quran, refrences about Muhammad in non-islamic scriptures etc.. are too true to be discountes. I could have doubted the stuff on Peace TV, should the speaker was just a fanatic moulvi from some madrasa. But Dr. Zakir Naik is a medical professional and has not gone to a fomal Islamic missionary school to get his ideas. I agree he is one a kind personality who believe strongly that he is not only a true Indian but a HINDU geographically. I myself, a scientist in biochemistry strongly believe that Dr. Zakir Naik’s meassage will unify the whole humanity UNDER ONE GOD as they write on American curreny notes. Those who doubt his abilty to quote verbatium in the crowds should organise a team of world famous scholars from various religions and test if he will still answer. My feeling is he will!
    I hope you analyse him once again

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