[A 2006 banner circulated ahead of the Inter-Religion Dialogue between Dr. Zakir Naik and Sri Sri Ravishankar. (Google Image)]
Hyderabad: Facing flak from BJP for sharing the stage with Islamic preacher Zakir Naik who is in the midst of a controversy for his 'hate speech' reportedly inspiring one of the five militants involved in the recent terror attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Friday questioned the double standards in application.
He said that if prominent personalities like Sri Sri Ravishankar shares stage with Naik they are declared to be nationalist and if he does it is declared anti-national.
"Is Zakir Naik a terrorist, is there a case against him, is he a criminal. When Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shares a stage with him that is Nationalism, if Shri Rajnath Singh goes and Visits Pragya Thakur, an accused of Malegaon bomb blast that is nationalism, and if I share the stage I am anti national. What kind of double standard is this," Singh told ANI.
Upon being asked the relationship he shares with Zakir Naik, Singh told that the relationship with Zakir Naik is same as the relationship Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shares with Naik.
"My relationship with Zakir Naik is same of what Sri Sri Ravishankar has got with Zakir Naik," he said.
In 2012, a video emerged showing Digvijaya Singh sharing stage with Islamic preacher Zakir Naik at an event.
The video shows Digvijay Singh saying that people like Zakir Naik can bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims.
Zakir Naik is reportedly in Saudi Arabia for a religious pilgrimage and would return to India on July 11. Following the media trial initiated against Zakir Naik, the Maharashtra government on Thursday ordered a probe against him.
Meanwhile, facing backlash for defending Osama Bin Laden in one of his speeches and in news after it was reported that one of the terrorists invloved in the Bangladesh attack was inspired by him, Zakir Naik said the videos of his speeches were doctored.
“No Muslim should terrorise human being. I was misquoted earlier. I only said Muslim should be terrorists to anti-social elements. Video of my speech on Osama is doctored,” said Naik in an interview to News18.
Speaking to The Indian Express on July 5, Naik had said, “I have said that the Quran explicitly says in Chapter 5 that when a person kills another human being, of any religion, it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity. And when a man protects another from being killed, it is as though he has saved all of humanity…
"Why does the media give only half of my quote? I have said that for a thief, a policeman is a terrorist. And people should be terrorists against anti-social elements. The media misrepresents what I said, so I stopped saying this at my lectures.”