Following are excerpts from a lecture by Indian Muslim cleric Dr. Zakir Naik, which aired on Peace TV on July 29, 2008
Dr. Zakir Naik: And many Muslims go on the defense: I am not a fundamentalist. I am not an extremist. I say: I am an extremist. I am extremely honest, I am extremely just, I am extremely kind, I am extremely peaceful, I am extremely merciful. I want to know what is wrong with being extremely just, extremely honest, extremely kinds, extremely merciful. You can't be partly just. When it benefits you, you are just. When it doesn't benefit you, you are not. You have to be extremely just. That's what the Koran says. Our religious scripture, the word of Almighty God, says we have to be fully just. We can't expect the judge to be partially just. When he wants, he does justice. Otherwise no. So what's wrong? And I want to ask any human being – can he tell me that being extremely honest is wrong, extremely just is wrong. Extremely peaceful is wrong? We have to be extremist – but in the right direction. So when someone says I am an extremist – I have to be an extremist Muslim. Only if I am an extremist Muslim can I be a good Muslim. Otherwise I can't.
Naik: The Muslims are labeled as terrorists. The basic and simple definition of terrorist is a person who causes terror. For example, if a criminal sees a policeman, he is terrified. So for the criminal, the policeman is a terrorist. In this context, I say that every Muslim should be a terrorist. Whenever any criminal sees a Muslim, he should be terrified. Whenever any rapist sees a Muslim, he should be terrified. Whenever any robber sees a Muslim, he should be terrified. Whenever any anti-social element sees a Muslim, he should be terrified.
Naik: Those people who are killing wrong people, who are against humanity – the Koran says: Cause terror in their hearts. I know that commonly the word terrorist means terrorizing innocent human beings. In this context, no Muslim should ever terrorize any innocent human being. It is prohibited in Islam. We know that many times two different labels are given to the same person, the same individual, the same activity.
Naik: We know, in 1875 (sic), during the American Revolution, there were many Americans who were fighting for their freedom. The British were ruling America. And these people, who fought for their freedom – by the British government they were called terrorists. Number one in the forefront was Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. We know that these people – by the British government they were called terrorist number one. George Washington was called terrorist number one. Later on, he became president of the USA, and he happens to be the same terrorist number one. He became the president of the USA, and happens to be the godfather of all the presidents to come, including George Bush. Imagine – the same people who the British called terrorists now are allies. They are the best friends. The times keep on changing, depending upon the historical background, depending on the geographical background. What we come to know, in short, is that whoever is in power – whatever label he gives, the label gets stuck. Whoever is in power... Today, America is supposed to be in power. They have the media with them, so who they call a terrorist – the label gets stuck. It gets stuck.