Fugitive Islamic televangelist Dr Zakir Naik in his latest video has supported the demolition of the old Hindu temple in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, saying temples should not be allowed to be constructed in an Islamic country.
On 30 December, a mob of over a hundred people led by local Muslim clerics from radical Islamist party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam destroyed and set on fire a Hindu temple in the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
A viral video clip on social media showed a violent mob destroying the walls and roof of the temple.
Zakir Naik: Temples should not be allowed to be constructed in an Islamic country
A local cleric incited the mob that was part of a rally of the Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), a Sunni Deobandi political party in Pakistan. Muslim speakers delivered inflammatory speeches after which the mob stormed the temple, set it ablaze, and razed it to the ground.
On 1 January, India lodged a formal protest with Pakistan via diplomatic channels against the vandalisation and demolition of a Hindu temple there and conveyed that the neighbouring country should investigate the matter and take strict action against those responsible.
This is not the first time Zakir Naik has sparked controversy through his videos.
According to the Shari’ah, it is haram for an Islamic nation to pay or donate to a worship house of a non-Muslim, said Zakir Naik.
The Islamic preacher, who fled India to Malaysia in 2016, further said that all Muslim scholars, imams and ulemas are of the same opinion and there are several fatwas (rulings) regarding this.
Last year, the United States placed Pakistan on a list of “countries of particular concern” for religious freedom violations.
Minorities in Pakistan regularly face persecution with more than 1000 women abducted and forcefully converted to Islam every year.