New Delhi: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living (AOL) Foundation on Friday claimed that the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik had quoted verses from the Vedas out of context at a public discussion and also tried to insult Hinduism.
"Zakir Naik quoted verses from the Vedas out of context and tried to insult Hinduism and other idol-worshipping religions. His talk was misguiding and inciting people," Art of Living said in a statement.
It said Congress MLA Roshan Baig invited Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for a public discussion on 'The concept of God in Hindusim and Islam in the light of Sacred Scriptures' in 2006.
"Sri Sri was to talk about the Hinduism aspect whereas Zakir Naik on Islam. Naik frequently referred to a book written by Sri Sri called 'Hinduism and Islam', and distorted Sri Sri's message in the book," it added.
The statement further reads that the book highlighted the shared values between the two religions and sought to bring them together, adding that it had influenced many youth who were skeptical about Hinduism.
"This was not finding favour with Zakir Naik's philosophy of denigrating other religions. A couple of Muslim men, who seemed to have been asked by Zakir Naik to come on the mike, shared that they were pandits earlier and had now had become Muslims," it said.
The Art of Living in its statement further said that the situation was charged with tension and in order to diffuse the situation, Sri Sri did not press any arguments but simply quoted a verse from Kabir.
"Pothi padh padh jag mua, pandit bhayo na koye, Dhai akshar prem ka, padhe so pandit hoye," it added.
The claims of the Art of Living comes amid reports that one of the terrorists who attacked an upmarket restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital a few days ago, killing 22 people, was inspired by sermons of the 50-year-old Mumbai-based Islamic scholar.
Meanwhile, calling Zakir Naik's speeches 'highly objectionable', Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the Home Ministry will take appropriate action after studying them.
"The Home Ministry will study (his speeches). It will take appropriate action after studying them. His speeches, as being reported in the media, are highly objectionable," Naidu told the media.