Hate Speech by Zakir Naik: Painful punishment awaits those who abuse the Prophet

Controversial preacher issues a not-so-veiled threat of violent reprisals; endangers French Muslims further who are already facing suspicion and hate in wake of beheadings in Paris and Nice

Zakir Naik

Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik posted an excerpt on Facebook of the Al Quran 9:61 phrase, “But those who abuse the Messenger of Allaah will have a painful punishment,” alluding to the recent beheading of a teacher in France for showing caricatures of the Prophet. This is nothing but a threat of violent reprisals against those who show images or cartoons of  Prophet Mohammed.

The post was subsequently taken down, although it is not known whether this was done by authorities or Naik himself. Regardless, Naik has persisted in his virtual attack on French President Emmanuel Macron for the latter’s decision not to “give up” cartoons.

On October 29, 2020, Naik put out a Facebook post that said “The endorsement of offensive speech does nothing to advance freedom of expression. A right to offend does not imply a duty to offend.”

To his credit, Naik also posted another poster on October 31 that condemned the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty as well as Macron’s comments. However, this does not negate the fact that Naik is among the many extremist elements in India that denounced the French President simply for upholding the freedom of speech.

His comments further widen the gap of communalism between Hindus and Muslims especially considering his huge fanbase of over 22 million followers. By decrying Macron, Naik seems to be indirectly supporting terrorist actions which, coupled with the insistence to boycott French products and dubious quoting of the Quran, damages public’s already skewed view of Islam.

Moreover, his comment about a “painful punishment” gives right-wing Hindutva groups another excuse to denounce the community. This is especially beneficial to them during election season in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Even so, Naik has continued to focus on the French President rather than the criminal act that resulted in Macron’s statement.



The controversial preacher’s influence has been noted in recent years when a terrorist group in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, said they took to the path of terrorism after listening to Naik’s videos in 2016. At the time, 29 people including an Indian woman were killed.

It is important to remember that at a time when extreme forces choose to condemn Macron, over 100 Indians including Muslims deplore the beheading in France and outrageous comments by religio-political leaders


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