Banning Dr Zakir Naik

Published: June 20, 2010

The recent ban on Dr Zakir Naik's entry to the UK has let us peek into Pandora's box.

The Express Tribune website recently ran an online poll with the question:

“Should an individual be banned from a country for making controversial statements?”

To which 55 per cent of voters responded yes, while 45 per cent responded no.

The result of this poll was quite interesting in itself, as was the issue which drove the question.


The poll was created as a follow-up to the story Britain bans Dr Zakir Naik, which has seen a huge influx of traffic – attaining 92 comments and 316 Facebook ‘likes’ in just two days. Needless to say, the issue was an important one for Tribune visitors, and one which the web team felt compelled to address via an online poll. However, framing the question was not a simple task.

The real issue

At the time of framing the question, the team faced a dilemma as to what would be the best way to word the question to such a sensitive issue. Team members offered their opinions, and similar to the comments seen on the story, we ran straight into our own convoluted microcosm of the larger debate.

Some of the ideas we encountered and traversed are presented below, via the words of our commenters who captured the various strands of the issue.

Freedom of speech?

Balal Naeem:

That shows their conservative minds. And they call themselves advocates of freedom of speech. Huh!


UK banned Geert Wilders, Mike Guzovsky, Michael Savage, Don Black and Fred Phelps as well in addition to Imams deemed to be terrorism apologists. How many complaining about this supported such a decision? Or are judgments and morality selective only?

Javed Afridi:

Political asylum to Suleman Rushdei and ban on Niak, what a joke.

Usman Ahmad:

Freedom of Speech??? People, Naik is talking about killing, spilling blood, praising the ones who carry out such practices and encouraging violence.


Would Pakistan give a right-wing Christian televangelist a visa?

Threat to the state?

Syed A. Mateen:

It is the prerogative of the British Government to give visa to a person whom the British Government may think that he or she may become a nuisance during his or her visit in the United Kingdom. The government of Pakistan should learn a lesson of the recent action of the British Government and exclude all those who may become a threat for Pakistan.

Encouraging terrorism?


Why is no one shocked by what Dr. Zakir Naik has actually said? Can’t we all agree that his comments are unacceptable? Can’t we all agree that he’s inciting hatred with these comments? This man has a following and he’s telling his followers that it is okay to be a terrorist! That’s pretty dangerous. I for one can understand why the British government banned him.


islam is against terrorism. zakir naik is being quoted out of context. the true context is….if a Muslim sees a rapist, the rapist should get terrified, if a robber sees a Muslim he should get terrified. in this sense every Muslim should be a terrorist who terrorizes the anti-social elements of the society. for example when a robber sees a police man, he gets terrified, for the robber the policeman is a terrorist!

The inevitable clash of civilisations?

Rizwan Ahmed:

Another great Example of double standards, Muslims should understand that there are no territorial boundaries now, only muslims and non muslims is the main dividing line.


Blab Blab Freedom of Speech blab blab Human Rights Blab Blab that is all what I hear when some moron trying to convince me about the superiority of western culture. When it comes to Muslims West have double standards, get over it.

M K Abbas:

Great call on part of the british government. Zakir Naik and other such charlatans polarize their own community and promote religious segregation. His comments about terrorism, minorities, other sects are well known. People should not look at this as a Muslim vs Non-muslim thing.

One question

At times like these, asking one question seems almost infantile. What is the real issue behind banning Dr Zakir Naik?

Is it the question of freedom of speech, or is it really about a clash of uncompromising cultures?

Is it about a man blatantly encouraging terrorism, or about someone saying he truly does not know what to believe because he does not trust the mass media.

If we can condemn Naik being refused entry to the UK, will we then condemn a fatwa being issued against Salman Rushdie, or is there a difference between the two? What about a piece of art juxtaposing Benazir Bhutto with Zia-ul-Haq?

Is Naik really a threat to the UK, or is the threat really the power of nightmares leading humanity to make their fantasies come to life?

Our team chose to tackle the issue of freedom of speech, and in order to make it hard for even ourselves to answer, we presented it not in the light of Dr Zakir Naik’s case specifically, but under the context of banning an individual for stepping into a country with a set of controversial ideas.

Which leaves me wondering, If our visitors were given the choice to design the poll, what is the one question they would have asked?

Jahanzaib Haque

Jahanzaib Haque

News buff and Web Editor, The Express Tribune. Jahanzaib tweets @Jhaque_

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Shamim Mozaffar

    I always admired the justice system of UK and the courage of the British citizens in listening to opposing views. They carried out the biggest procession against attack on Iraq by Allied forces that included their own country. But today it has saddened every fair minded person by the decision taken in banning Dr. Zakir Naik, a noble and courageous soul, to enter UK. Does it indicate the changed policy of the new government? The reason given for banning his entry is far away from truth. Is it ignorance on their part or they wanted to believe in the distorted truth since it suited them? Zakir Naik never condemns other religions, far from it, but being a da’ee of Islam it his duty to educate the world what Islam is. That is what he does. I pity Ms May for her short sightedness. In the world of today with electronic media reaching far and wide, one cannot suppress any sane (or for that matter even insane) voice from reaching the masses. I hope sanity would prevail and the British government after realizing its mistake would reverse its decision.Recommend

  • Hunain Ali

    Britain very well done !Recommend

  • saleem akhtar

    i am utterly upset by the british governments decision to ban dr. zakir naik from britain. he has learnt from ahmed didat, the man no one could debate with. he was the best , no one would dare challenge him. he and dr. zakir know the bible more than the christians do. dr zakir is not a terrorist, and shame on all you muslims who are talking against will not be forgiven , i bet your the sort of people who are against islam. and lovers of this world, you will soon find out.this ban should be lifted as soon as possible. the main problem is people are fearing islam will rule the world , this will inshallah happen, mark my words. you can run but you cant hideRecommend

  • sonia

    it is very disappointing to hear the barring of dr zakir naik to UK.isnt it discrimination against his basic rights?he should be given permission as sooon as possible.Recommend

  • Hafiz

    Salaam, I don’t understand it’s funny, theresa may banned dr zakir naik to come to this country? But his got his channel aired 24/7 lol where seeing him anyway on a daily basis, the difference is that his on tv that’s all but he still is in the uk 24/7 on peace tv lol. Geert wilders was allowed to enter the uk after he made a hatred documentry. The people got fear in them now, they know if dr zakir naik comes, he’l spread islam! He should be allowed & when he comes ask him about it, too scared you know he’l give a response which you can’t reply to!Recommend

  • http://hotmail huma hussain

    where the hell does it say that dr Zakir Naik says it is okay to be a terrorist?? i wana know i been listening to him for a while but i havent heard much comments?? :SRecommend

  • Absar

    What tickles me always is that how “west” — and particularly in such cases UK and US — define the concept of “Freedom of Speech”Recommend

  • SF Reza

    It is indeed sad a day in British Democracy. Home Secretary banned Dr Naik for the fear of not conducive to public good!

    I revewed Dr Naik’s various speeched and I have to say that I have not found any of his speeches inciting violence or terrorism. I challenge Mrs May, Home Secretary to review Dr Naik’s speeches in its entirety, not selective ones, out of context and review her decision in a rationale and objective way, without pressure from the Media or any other party (ies).

    In his Press Release Dr Naik categorically stated that he is opposed to any form of terrorism, where innocent people are threatended or killed.

    On the contrary, he had said in one of his speeches, quoting Qur’anic verse, that who ever killed an innocent human being, it is as if though he had killed the entire human kind and whoever saved a human being, it is as if he saved the entire human being. Such is the beauty and serenity of the Qur’anic Verses and Dr Naik, it appeared, relied on the Holy Scriptures to make his speeches and statements.

    If Mrs May is not under any pressures from the Media or any other people / group, then she should review the basis of her decision, which I fear is fundamentally flawed in the validity of her assumptions based on selective speeches or texts.Recommend

  • Ali

    Finally British govt showed some spine.. It should ban all hatred mongers..Recommend

  • faisal iqbal

    salman rushdi is free to speak but zakik is not what nonsenseRecommend

  • abdul waheed zafar rana

    I just want to ask one question from Mr/Mrs shamin mozaffar you say “Zakir Naik never condemns other religions”. Did you ever ask him about Ahmadi Muslims. As far as I know he condemns them to be “put to death”Recommend

  • Muhammad Murtaza

    I am sure that the ban on Zakir Naik has been considered as a PRIDE OF PERFORMANCE from UK Government. This is because the officials of UK are afraid that their lies / deception will be disclosed over many issues, when Dr. Naik will start speaking. And people will automatically attract listening Dr. Zakir Naik – this is very much an HUMAN NATURE!!Recommend

  • Rashid

    Dr. Zakir Naik has memorized book : Muhammad in World Scriptures:
    by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi
    Advent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Foretold in the Holy Scriptures
    But does NOT have moral courage to acknowledge it.

  • Zain

    If u read the the statement with context of Mr.Zakir Naik.u will see……..he is taliking about social bycott of rapists, robbers etc……does social bycott of bad people is terrorism?Recommend

  • Cervet Cahn

    This is a total biased behavior of British govt., but I am least surprised because this is what we should expect from them. Where are all the “freedom-of-speech” rants now??

    It should be noted that British Govt has banned the Da’eeh because : He is one of the most influential Muslim speaker with over millions of listeners, both Muslims and Non-Muslims around the globe.

    It left the Britishers to freak out. Hence they created misconception and quoted the speaker totally out of context. In their letter to Dr. Naik, they stated that the speaker is banned for stating “every Muslim should be a terrorist”. However, they cleverly eliminated the whole context. In the actual speech he said what has been quoted above by Suhaib that:

    “the true context is….if a Muslim sees a rapist, the rapist should get terrified, if a robber sees a Muslim he should get terrified. in this sense every Muslim should be a terrorist who terrorizes the anti-social elements of the society. for example when a robber sees a police man, he gets terrified, for the robber the policeman is a terrorist!”

    to add further, in the same speech Dr. Zakir continued with that he is against the terrorism, which by contemporary definition means to “terrorize an innocent person”. According to him this is completely prohibited and he is totally against this idea of people terrorizing innocent people. By this definition of Terrorism, Zakir Naik completely condemn terrorism.

    I don’t see ANY kind of controversy at all in this speech of his, on the basis of which he was banned.Recommend

  • Sam

    This is an example of those who will remain blinded and will never understand what the true meaning of the Quran Islam and our prophet is. Those who fear the Truth and are ignorant will provoke and behave in the manner the home secretary has. Utter ignorance and total fear of a peaceful servant of God.Recommend


    UK is giving a clear chance to the world to say that they do not bleave in freedom of speech. It is so obivious to prove that Zakir naik never encourage Violence but peace and only peace.Recommend

  • Mohammed

    Dr. Zakir NAik is a speaker who is very much required in todays time when Muslims are suffering and the western world is trying to diminish the Muslims.

    Banning him is ridiculous and not acceptable.

    UK GOVERNMENT shows their double faced policy….Recommend

  • Sajan

    People, why waste time by giving your own stories, go to this URL and know the truth.

  • Ahmed

    Extract of Quote 1
    “As far as terrorist is concerned, I tell the Muslims that every Muslim should be a
    terrorist… What is the meaning of the word terrorist? Terrorist by definition means
    a person who terrorises. When a robber sees a policeman he’s terrified. So for a
    robber, a policeman is a terrorist. So in this context every Muslim should be a
    terrorist to the robber… Every Muslim should be a terrorist to each and every antisocial
    element. I’m aware that terrorist more commonly is used for a person who
    terrorises an innocent person. In this context, no Muslim should even terrorise a
    single innocent human being. The Muslims should selectively terrorise the antisocial
    element, and many times, two different labels are given to the same activity
    of the same individual … Before any person gives any label to any individual for
    any of his actions, we have to first analyse, for what reason is he doing that?”
    (Source – video google)Recommend

  • MK

    Is the UK government is afraid of the people who speak rightiousness?! You just cant go on media reports to ban a person altoghether!The people in the government need to listen to Dr Zakir’s speeches!Recommend

  • arun

    He claims the quran is scientific and without error!
    Stuff like the sun sets in a muddy pool in the evenings or rises on an unprotected people!
    The Prophet thought as all did at that time that the world was flat and so made up these verses.
    Dr Naik has said that birth control is not allowed for Muslims so Pakistan which is increasing six fold every fifty years and 36 fold every hundred will jump from 180m today to 4,000 million this century or more than the current population of europe , africa , americas combined!
    The world is doomed if such primitive thinking is permittedRecommend

  • arun

    He claims that Hindu scriptures like the vedas talk of only one God , but then doesnt mention that they say God is in everything which is blasphemy for Muslims as they believe Allah exists and sits on a big throne in heaven , which we cant see and which doesnt exist.Recommend

  • Ahsan

    The question i would have posed is has anybody really (and i mean really with an objective mind and without forming conclusions beforehand) even tried to listen to what Mr ZN says…

    @mr abdul waheed zafar rana
    Ive never heard ZN condemn anyother sect any other at all.Heck hez not even brought up any other sect at his talks ever. if ur stating something other than the normal perception plz give us any link its an age of real-time info you cant just put forward an allegation without backup

    @ arun
    Dude! seriously ! ur talking on zakir naik article … at least a single reference or link or anything. where in quran or where in hadith about “sun setting” im not claiming ur wrong. just want u to prove its facts that u are talking about and not what you read in some book or blog against islam. you know so that no one else starts abusing you out of the blue.Recommend

  • Ahsan

    heres the kicker: this terrorist speech its not the first time he said it its probably the 500th time coz ZN’s speeches never change and i mean NEVER. most of his talks have remained the exact same for the past 25 years (maybe a few changed examples and analogies but same nonetheless)Recommend

  • danish

    DR.ZAKIR NAIK is such a great preacher and he preaches all over the world…..HE is against terrorism so he should never be banned from uk.Recommend

  • Dennis Dey

    The world needs leaders who bring out similarities in different religions as a means to curb fanaticism and narrow-minded sectarianism; e.g., HH the Dalai Lama, HH Ravi Shankar, and Mahatma Gandhi, among others, who insist that all religions are actually different paths to the same goal. Deriding other faiths in the name of “comparative religion”, as Dr. Naik is doing, is actually inflammatory.Recommend

  • literal

    Surely ,a kind person like dr zakir naik getting banned only shows the real barbaric nature against Islam and outsider.
    may said of priveledge,they in reality looted the world during their colonial period,this is just another image,madam may i dont think this is her priveledge ,Tony blair was a lot betterRecommend

  • Sahil

    I still remember in an open debate forum tv program on popular Indian news channel, Zakir Naik said 911 wasn’t act of terrorists and rather work of someone who wanted to use it as excuse to attack islamic countries.

    I am also completely disappointed by how Zakir Naik conveniently misinterpretes other religions to ultimately establish superiority of islam.

    Having good memory and oratory skills is one thing and showing complete disregard for peaceful coexistence is other.

    I don’t expect India to ever ban Zakir Naik but hope he gets banned in US and European countries.Recommend

  • saeed

    as far the people’s concern, everybody understand the context in which zakir naik ‘encouraged terrorism’. However those who favors the ban are the people who are worried about their religions, ahmadis etc. Dr zakir is a real threat to all weak religions and the conservatives fears the impact of zakir naik’s debate.. Zakir is a wonderfull debater, but the west has dual standards for muslims.Recommend

  • humza

    I am not agree with you, Saeed that he is encouraging terrorism. Week religions like Mirzai, can not face him, so they tried and ask to bane him.Recommend

  • arun

    You only have to go to youtube and type in ‘zakir naik’ and watching him saying its Islamic (and he supports Islamic law) that apostates who preach against Islam should be killed,

    and says that other religions should not be allowed to propagate in Muslim countries which is why new churches or repairing old ones is banned in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia etc. while Muslims are allowed to build new ones in non Muslim countries. If Islam ever becomes the majority religion in India or Britain then new churches and temples or propagation of non Islamic religions will be banned

    He doesnt want women to be allowed to work with men etc.
    These kind of preachings of condoning killing are simply unaccepatableRecommend

  • Rafay Qureshi

    He was out of context =S
    and now where is Freedom of Speech =ORecommend

  • Thandagesvaran

    I watch Zakir Naik’s program (not listen) to see if there is any spiritual content. He is purely a reliogiou sspkeaer (I am not competent to say if he is a leader or a scholar). But he is quite amazing with his memory and at best amusing with his arguments.

    He speaks against violence in general but for specific questions he seems to tacitly authorize violence. For a question on people of other religion worshipping multiple gods – this is what he had to offer as an answer by asking a few questions back – What will you do if someone insults and abuses your mother/father – you will get angry and beat them – who is more dearer to you your parents or Allah, Allah isnt it? So if someone insutls Allah by worshipping so many gods, what should you do?

    For another question, How do you handle people who convert to another religion from Islam – He says, We know that Islam is the best religion and in Holy Quran it says, it is like treason for a person who follows QUran not to follow it anymore. A person who converts to another religion deserves the same treatment as someone who has committed treason.

    Though openly he speaks for non-violence, he has been bashing all other religions by qouting from their scriptures which are all out of context. Zakir Naik has become a victim of his own folly of running down others by quoting them out of context.

    The British government is tolerant to other religions but not tolerant to his form of preaching and Wahabism. May be now he will be more careful of what he wants to achieve and the means that he uses to do.


  • Sachal

    Do you realize that according to Islam, in Islamic states, preachers of other religions are not allowed?
    Yet we are supposed to send Islamic scholars to other countries.

    Fair treatment of preachers was never in Muslims context. So why demand of other what you yourself do not condone?Recommend

  • Kumar

    Using clever language to disguise your real intentions can only fool so many people. Finally someone had to see thru the facade and had the guts to call a spade a spade.Recommend

  • sarah

    You know what, all muslims should just stop talking abt ‘rights’ and ‘freedom of expression’. You should just be grateful they allow you to even practice your religion and behave the way you do in thier country. We don’t even allow other muslims to these basic rights in our own country, imajine what we’d do if a foreigner tried to excersize the same here!

    seriously…islam doesn’t even allow you to change your religion….what freedom of expression/religion are you talking abt???

    lets refrain from accusing the british/america/west of being hypocritical, lets scrutinize ourselves first!Recommend

  • Khalid Hassan

    Huh! another Bubble blowing to grab more monetary favors…!! Media has much capacity to earn through even scratch size piece of info…

    Btw the poll is’nt effective in its ownself,, as u know therr is a contradictory debate over Naik’s lectures b/w two leading muslim sects… dis is just a friction b/w these two sects which hype-up da number of comments. ppl r taking it more personal. rather commenting over da core essence of this issue.

    EARN EARN EARN!!!!!Recommend

  • Imad

    @Kumar, Arun, thandagesvaran
    dont waste you time over here, because we are not Dr. Naik’s representative, i guess you guys have easy access to his talks so go there and put ur questions in front of him, he will reply you nicely

    @abul waheed zafar rana, why do u consider urself muslim, what zakir naik, not even a single muslim consider u as a muslim, and btw you dont accept us a muslim either, infront of every ahmadi every muslim is a kaafir, atleast dr Naik have courage to say this all in public, unlike u guys who feel something and on web and TV they are the biggest hypocrateRecommend

  • Tilsim

    It was right for the British to ban Naik. Salman Rushdie may say unpleasant stuff but he does not condone terrorism; the accusation is that Naik does.

    Us Pakistanis have to get a grip and take a zero tolerance attitude towards terrorism. Our soft belly of support based on our feelings of being aggrieved is keeping this monster aliveRecommend

  • Uzair

    Dr. Zakir naik is the best speaker .. Dr. Naik is the peace maker.. He prevails peace everywhere…Recommend

  • Mohammed Ikramulla

    It is better Dr.Zakir Naik speaks less in public forums because every word his is being short quoted to mis quote him and to bring notoriety to him. He should refrain making easy comments about other religions.Recommend

  • Yasir Khan Tanoli

    Dr. Zakir naik is a Great scholar. Muslim’s World need such type of Scholar.He always gave true references of Quran and Adiath.Recommend

  • sunil

    I’m disappointed that Zakir Naik was banned from entering the U.K. . Had he been allowed there and captured for spreading hatred, India could have gotten rid of such a menace and threat to a secular society like ours.Recommend

  • Mr. Sunil hasn’t Dr.Zakir Naik speaking on any subject otherwise Mr.Sunil would not have commented that Dr.Naik is spreading hatred.Recommend

  • pandu

    zakir naik is true scholar who has researched only about other religion to degrade and fall……for him islam is everything ////hinduism///buddism sikism christian are all waste……………………………..i think he is nothing but a selfish men.Recommend