Dr. Zakir Naik Evades SAN Debate Invitation: Second Update

Zakir and Petro DollarsDr. Zakir Naik,  who in the past had “effectively” evaded debate invitations of legendary Christian apologists such as Bro. Sam Shamoun, Bro. James White and Bro. David Wood, as well as Arya Samaj from Hinduism, has now showed his unwillingness to face SAN representative in a debate. Following are the correspondence between SAN and IRF.

 Second Update: IRF Insists Zakir is Kept in the Dark.



On Thursday, the July 22nd 2010, a delegation from Sakshi Apologetics Network (SAN) personally visited IRF office at Mumbai and handed over the debate invitation. On Monday, the July 26th 2010, IRF replied expressing their unwillingness to face SAN representative in a debate. On Tuesday, the July 27th 2010, SAN responded exposing the tactics of IRF while leaving the debate invitation open. Following are the copies of the above mentioned correspondence.



First Update

1.    Copy of the Letter of Debate Invitation from Sakshi Apologetics Network (SAN) to IRF

Let the name of the Triune God Jehovah, the only true name of God upon which all the true prophets have called; who incarnated as Jesus Christ; on whose name every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess be glorified.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:4 & 5

To,                                                                                  Date: 22 July 2010  
Janab Dr. Zakir Naik,
President, IRF,
Mumbai.

Dear Brother Janab Dr. Zakir Naik,

Greetings from Sakshi Apologetics Network (SAN).

This letter is to invite you for an open public recorded debate for topics that are of mutual interest to Christian and Islamic community.

Background and Purpose of this Invitation

We have personally seen and it has been reported to us both by the Christian and Muslim friends about your talks at various forums on comparative religions especially on Islam and Christianity and the claims and questions you raised thereof on these religions. Having answered numerous questions of other Dawwah groups and clarified the doubts of general population with evidence, we have been also requested both by Christian and Muslim friends to engage you in a debate on a topic of common interest so that the truth will stand out clearly. We are keen to have this debate so that general population at large would get an opportunity to compare between these faiths and, God willing make an informed decision to follow the Truth.

With this intention, SAN attempted many times to contact you over your email id available on the internet “islam@irf.net” for a debate but never got a response. Hoping it to be an oversight at your end, we hereby handover this debate invitation in person to you. 

Proposed Debate Topics

With the intention to educate the public, we propose a debate on any (or all) of the following topics: 

  1. LORD Jesus Christ or Hazarat Muhammad: Who is the True Moral Pattern for Humanity?
  2. Life after Death in Biblical Faith and Islam: Which is Righteous and Spiritual?
  3. Christianity or Islam: Which is the True and Final Solution for Humanity?
  4. Yahweh God of the Bible and Allah of the Quran: Who is the One True Universal God?


Proposed Dates

The debate can be organized at a mutually convenient date and time. However, for the sake of a faster decision on this, we propose any of the mutually convenient Saturdays in October and November (the months after Ramadan and before the Christmas Season) or any of the mutually convenient Saturday’s from January to May 2011.  Please propose any three options from your side.

Debate Representative from SAN

Our debate representative will be Bro. Jerry Thomas. Bro. Jerry Thomas is a founding member and chief convener of SAN which now has a presence in seven states of India. He is also the Board Member of a prominent Christian publication as well as the Board Member of a trans-denominational theological college. He had immensely effective debates with prominent Dawwah preachers, Bro. Asifuddin Muhammad (President of IACR, Hyderabad) and Bro. Imran (President of IREF, Hyderabad). Bro. Jerry’s programs have been telecasted several times in the RakshanaTV, one of the largest satellite Christian channels in India. His public rebuttals to another Dawwah preacher, Janab MM Akbar (Director of Niche of Truth), have now huge impact among both Christian and Muslim community in Kerala.

He has published numerous articles various Christian apologetics topics, such as refutation of the Da Vinci Code, refutation for Gay Marriages etc and have similarly responded to the numerous theological questions raised by the Hindus before the Justice Someshekar Commission. As a passionate defender of the C

hristian faith, Bro. Jerry have answered all the questions from Genesis to Revelation raised by Swami Dayananda Saraswati (Arya Samaj) in his book Satyarth Prakash which contained critiques of Puranic Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. This is apart from the interviews appeared in prominent magazines like the World Magazine, the fifth largest political weekly in United States of America, and open forums conducted at numerous universities and other academic settings.

Proposed Modalities/Agreement

We can discuss and finalize code of conduct and other modalities to have a peaceful and cordial debate. However, for the sake of a faster conclusion of the discussion, we have enclosed the proposed modalities as Appendix A. 

Proposed Venue

We offer to host the debate and bear its expense at any of the following places subject to its availability or at a mutually agreeable place:

(a)  Cochin (Kerala)-   Any open public stadium or ground (b)  Greater Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)- Any open public stadium or ground
Please respond to this letter on the following address on or before July 30, 2010. If we do not hear from you by July 30, 2010, we will consider that as unwillingness from your side for the debate. We would highly appreciate if you can provide an electronic copy of your reply to our email address provided below.

Please do let us know if you require any further information.

Our Contact Details:

Address Bro. George John, Administrator, Sakshi Apologetics Network,IPC Bethel Prayer Center, Vaikom, P.O,Kottayam, Kerala- 686141

Website: www.sakshitimes.org
Email: sakshi.apologeticsnetwork@gmail.com
Mobile: 09539797833

Thanking you,

Your brother in humanity,

For Sakshi Apologetics Network George Antony Paul 

Appendix A: Proposed Modalities/Agreement

AGREEMENT BETWEEN SAKSHI APOLOGETICS NETWORK AND IRF FOR PUBLIC DEBATE

After a mutual correspondence between SAKSHI APOLOGETICS NETWORK (SAN) and the Islamic Research Foundation, it is agreed upon by both parties, to conduct Open Public Educational Debate at Cochin, Kerala/Greater Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Both, SAN and IRF expressed during personal discussion and correspondence, their main intention for the Open Public Debate, as education about Christianity and Islam to the masses based on the provision provided by the Indian Law of gathering people with peaceful intention and proselytizing them the Religious Truth as supposed by the speakers representing their respective religions. In order to make the event an academic success and maintain a format of peaceful conduct, both SAN and IRF have officially agreed on the following points to be the code of conduct by both the organizations, before, during, till and after the debate is also over as applicable, these points are as follows:

1. SAN and IRF have agreed for an academic and educational Open Public Debate between, Bro. Jerry Thomas (speaker from SAN) representing Christianity on a subject of the debate topic advertised and Janab Dr. Zakir Naik (speaker from the IRF) representing Muslims for the same event.

2. The date of the Public Debate is: A.D. XXX the Saturday (TBD).

3. The debate commences with the Moderators from both SAN and IRF climbing stage. The primary moderator would be from the SAN working along with the IRF Moderator. The SAN moderator will invite the speakers from both the sides and other representatives to the dais. The representatives from both the sides may assist their respective speakers in public reading, cross-checking and assisting with other references.

5. Then there will be the Holy Bible reading for 10 minutes followed by Quranic recitation for equal time.

6. The SAN Moderator would announce the topic, will read out the format of the speeches and rules and regulations to be maintained by the audience to maintain the peaceful decorum of the session as agreed by both the parties.

7. SAN moderator would introduce (or invite someone else to introduce) the SAN speaker followed by the IRF moderator to introduce (or invite someone else to introduce) the IRF speaker.

8. That the format of the debate shall be such that:

That the order of the presentations for the debates shall be, such that: The Christian speaker (or the Muslim speaker- TBD) would make the first presentation. The Muslim speaker (or the Christian speaker-TBD) would present next. The rebuttals would also follow this order.

A.  Each topic would begin with a 60 minutes presentation from each side’s speaker. (pl. note clause 9)
B.  These would be followed by a 20 minutes rebuttal from each side’s speaker. (pl. note clause 9)
C.  A Question & Answer session of forty five minutes, open to the participants, will follow the presentations and rebuttals.
D. Each question from the participant shall be for a maximum of two minutes. Each question shall be answered by the speaker for a maximum of 5 minutes. (pl. note clause 9)
E. the Moderator shall allow the first question to be posed to the second speaker which should be answered within a maximum of 5 minutes. This will be followed by the question to be posed to the first speaker. This format of the presentation, rebuttals and question and answer session shall continue till the end of the entire session.
9. If any of the speakers exceeds his, then an equal time should be given to the other side speakers too. However, it is the duty of moderators from both the sides to remind the speakers and warn them of any excessive time and may wish to stop the microphone if it exceeds beyond 5 minutes.

10. SAN Moderator and IRF Moderator can read out any importan

t announcements for an equal time after the concluding note.

11. The funding and organizing of the public debate, except for the advertisement and video recording, shall be borne by SAN.

12. Both, SAN and IRF are fully authorized to advertise the events using all legal means of communication. Only the photography (if any) given officially by SAN and IRF shall be used by both the sides.

13. SAN and IRF will advertise by their own names.

14. In case of spelling mistakes on the advertisements done by SAN and that are related to anything of IRF, then, such material/mode of advertisement shall be immediately withdrawn and publicity should be re-done after the correction is made.

15. The Topic of OPEN PUBLIC Debate is:

(TBD) 16. The language for the debate is English.

17. The Venue for the Public debate is: TBD (Cochin, Kerala)/(Greater Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh)

18. Both SAN and IRF can video/audio record the program and have their own set up with equal space and place for both and without blocking the audience and other party.

19. The editing of the video recording shall be done without any material change in the content and shall be released only with complete recordings of presentations, rebuttals, and question and answer session from both the speakers. The transcript shall be published in any format, with the said conditions only.

20. Both IRF and SAN shall provide equal number of volunteers. IRF should control in the best of its abilities the Muslim audience and SAN should control to the best of their abilities the Christian audience. Volunteers shall put the batch with the respective name of both the parties.

21. SAN and IRF should be very clear that the entire session is meant to educate the Christian and Muslim viewpoints on the topic of the debate. As such, any argument through comparative religion etc., put forward by both the speakers during their presentation in the debate and during the rebuttal and question answer session is not liable for any legal case nor be considered as religious blasphemy nor blasphemy in general and neither any such charges of any sort be bought against them.

22. Any other important point can be added, modified and/or deleted from these points subject to agreement from both the parties. Fairness, justice and equality to both the parties are non-negotiable in any such change.



2.   Copy of the Reply from IRF to Sakshi Apologetics Network

On Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 8:47 PM, <maqbool@irf.net> wrote:

25th July 2010

Dear Brother George John,

Greetings of Peace (Salaam) on you.

We are in receipt of your letter dated 22nd July 2010.

Since there are hundreds of people requesting Dr. Zakir Naik for debates neither he has time nor his students have time for such debates.

Dr. Zakir Naik is busy and occupied in other more important issues.

Even if time permits, he would prefer debating with more renowned personalities and those who have a large following.

Inspite of this I tried to arrange the debate with his students but after hearing Mr. Jerry Thomas’s name they said it is not worth wasting time debating with a person whose performance they have seen is very poor.

Even if they have time they will prefer debating with others who have much higher caliber than Mr. Jerry Thomas.

From your letter we have come to know that Mr. Jerry Thomas already had debates with some Muslims who were students of Dr. Zakir Naik’s students.

On further enquiry we got the information that Mr. Jerry Thomas doesn’t have the caliber to debate even with Dr. Zakir Naik’s students.

The invitation letter itself shows that it is more of a publicity seeking effort. There are many like Mr. Jerry Thomas who have intention to only get publicity by showing a letter that they have challenged Dr. Zakir Naik.

May the Almighty Creator guide us towards the way of Truth, the way to Peace and Salvation. Aameen.

With warm regards and best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

MAQBOOL BARWELKAR

Public Relation Manager 



3 Copy of the Response of SAN to IRF

On Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 2:26 PM, SAN (INDIA) <sakshi.apologeticsnetwork@gmail.com> wrote:

In the name of Yahweh, the only true name of God upon which all the true prophets have called, who in incarnation is known as Jesus Christ, in whose name every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess be glorified for ever and ever.

To, 
Maqbool Barwelkar 
Public Relation Manager,
IRF, Mumbai

Dear Brother Maqbool Barwelkar,

Thanks for your email confirmation and response to our invitation for a debate with Dr. Zakir Naik.

We are amused to know that Dr. Zakir Naik who has been now banned in many different places and has over twenty fatwas from other Muslims is “busy and occupied in other more important issues” especially when we were open to any date even in the next year-2011. We can understand the busyness of a man who has built an empire (e.g. international school) by preaching religion (Source: The Tehelka, July 10, 2010 “a research foundation that provides fodder for all these”). We highly recommend that he continue with his administrative work and stop giving any further talks on comparative religious subjects, specifically referring to Christianity, as he appears to be unwilling to debate with Christians who have successfully debated with other Dawah preachers.

We are also entertained by your reasons for evading this debate invitation. It must be noted here that we have not extended debate invitation with someone who has never debated before but somebody who had successfully debated other Dawah preachers or refuted them in public. It must be also recalled here that in the past your organization has similarly evaded debates with other world renowned Christian apologists such as Bro. Sam Shamoun of Answering Islam, at a time when it was possible for Dr. Zakir to debate in USA, but then you debated with other Christians who were not debaters but an author and an iterant preacher. Therefore, we see a clever and tactical pattern emerging out of your unwillingness to debate and that is this: Never debate with an effective Christian deba

ter lest you be exposed and loose your reputation but always choose someone who is not experienced in debating.  

 In other words, it is like Dr. Zakir Naik playing chess with Sachin Tendulkar and then making a claim that Dr. Zakir Naik had played effectively with one of the greatest Indian players with a great fan following and then evading the invitation of Viswanathan Anand by saying Dr. Zakir Naik will play with only “those who have a large following.”  

In fact, your statement that “In spite of this I tried to arrange the debate with his students but after hearing Mr. Jerry Thomas’s name they said it is not worth wasting time debating with a person whose performance they have seen is very poor” really exposes the fear of any IRF speakers debating with our representative from Sakshi Apologetics Network. We wonder how Bro. Jerry Thomas who according to you is not sufficiently ‘renowned’ is well known even among the IRF students and known enough to destroy their confidence of debating!!!        

 As for the statement that “the invitation letter itself shows that it is more of a publicity seeking effort. There are many like Mr. Jerry Thomas who have intention to only get publicity by showing a letter that they have challenged Dr. Zakir Naik” must be your method of seeking publicity- such as inviting Pope Benedict for a debate but not ours. Who is Dr. Zakir Naik, leader of a fringent group popped up petro-dollars compared to Pope Benedict who is the undisputed leader of the largest Christian denomination? That can be certainly called as a publicity seeking effort. But Bro. Jerry Thomas inviting Dr. Zakir Naik can never be called as a publicity seeking effort. Bro. Jerry Thomas ranks higher than Dr. Zakir Naik on every count except in terms of petro-dollars and the publicity fuelled by it. For example, the World Magazine, the fifth largest political weekly in the US has repeatedly interviewed Bro. Jerry Thomas to gather his expert views on many contemporary issues but the Tehelka, one of the India’s political weekly calls Dr. Zakir Naik as a ‘notorious preacher.’ Bro. Jerry Thomas has spoken in most of the denominations within Christian faith but Dr. Zakir Naik has over twenty fatwas from his own community. Bro. Jerry Thomas, apart from his public lectures, has written numerous well-researched articles and responses which appeared in many magazines but Dr. Zakir Naik has mostly recycled his unsubstantiated talks in paper forms. Further, the previous debates of Bro. Jerry Thomas were with Dawah preachers who had debated earlier whereas Dr. Zakir never debated with a Christian who had effectively debated earlier. In other words, what is required for scholarly debate- researched articles, acknowledged level of expertise, acceptance by his own community, real debate experience, Bro. Jerry Thomas ranks higher than Dr. Zakir Naik. But we certainly agree that he falls far behind and in fact no way comparable to Dr. Zakir Naik in petro-dollars.   

Having exposed the real reasons behind your unwillingness, we are now compelled to let know the Christian community and public at large about your reluctance to debate and any contrary claim by you as hollow and dishonest.    

To call off your regular bluff of Christians not being ready to debate Dr. Zakir and IRF, now and in the future, we keep this debate invitation open and let you know again that Bro. Jerry Thomas is ready to debate with Dr. Zakir Naik and SAN representatives are ready to debate with IRF representatives, on fair and just terms on a topic that equally examines both the sides.    

We sincerely pray that all our brothers at IRF may come to know the Truth and will become our brothers spiritually as well.  

Thanks and regards,  

George John  

Sakshi Apologetics Network

 July 27, 2010  

 



 Second Update:

The Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) has claimed that Dr. Zakir Naik has not seen Sakshi Apologetics Network’s (SAN) invitation for a public debate, nor the resultant string of email communiqué, though all of these are made part of the public domain. This denial is further to SAN’s public rebuttal to Dr. Naik’s challenges over the years against the Christian faith, in Hyderabad last week.

In an official email to SAN, Maqbool Barwelkar, IRF’s Public Relations and Operations Manager, insisted the he did not see it fit “that Dr. Zakir Naik should read your earlier invitation neither the reply of yours.” That this official email was sent by the IRF on “Monday, Aug 2, 2010 at 01:15 PM,” but was pre-dated as 31st July in the document (the day of the Public Rebuttal), lends additional reason to suspect this as part of the Islamic Da’wah group’s damage control exercise.

Dr. Zakir Naik’s Public Relations wing continued its diatribe that the SAN “debate invitation is a publicity stunt” even after Br. Jerry Thomas’ point-by-point public rebuttal of the Daw’ah preacher. (Read the full text of the IRF email and SAN’s response to it, below)


 

4. Copy of IRF Reply to SAN

 

On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 1:15 PM, <maqbool@irf.net> wrote:

31st July 2010

Dear Brother George John,

Greetings of Peace (Salaam) on you.

Thank you for your email dated 27th July 2010.

We were perfectly correct in assuming that your debate invitation is a publicity stunt which you have expressed in your sentence “We are now compelled to let know the Christian community and public at large about your reluctance to debate”.

All your allegations against Dr. Zakir Naik are false and baseless.

It is like a street boy challenging Mike Tyson for a fight and if Mike Tyson is refusing and giving valid reason for it, you lay allegation against Mike Tyson and want publicity for it.

Brother Jerry Thomas could not defeat students of Dr. Zakir Naik’s students and the people know it. Don’t even dream about debating with Dr. Zakir Naik, leave aside students of Dr. Zakir Naik. I being the Public Relation Manager will never allow it.

I personally do not consider that Dr. Zakir Naik should read your earlier invitation neither the reply of yours. I am here to save Dr. Zakir Naik’s time from such useless letters and emails. He receives more than a thousand emails and letters a day.

May the Almighty Creator guide us towards the way of Truth, the way to Peace and Salvation. Aameen.

With warm regards and best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

MAQBOOL BARWELKAR
Public Relation Manager 


 

5. Copy of SAN reply to IRF

 

From: SAN (INDIA) <sakshi.apologeticsnetwork@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 3:58 PM
Subject: Re: All your allegations against Dr. Zakir Naik are false and baseless.
To: maqbool@irf.net

In the name of Yahweh, the only true name of God upon which all the true prophets have called, who in incarnation is known as Jesus Christ, in whose name every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess be glorified for ever and ever
.To,
Maqbool Barwelkar 
Public Relation Manager,
IRF, Mumbai                                                                               

Dear Brother Maqbool Barwelkar,

Many thanks for explicitly stating “I being the Public Relation Manager will never allow it.” Of all the objections that you stated, Public Relation Manager’s objection is the most convincing to us. We believe that the day Dr. Zakir debates with Bro. Jerry, the God of all the true prophets of the Holy Bible will cause Dr. Zakir to be completely defeated – a public relation disaster for IRF! So your evasion is consistent with your tactic we observed in the earlier email “Never debate with an effective Christian debater lest you be exposed and lose your reputation but always choose someone who is not experienced in debating.”

Further, were you not simply bluffing when you wrote last time "Inspite of this I tried to arrange the debate with his students" since you never wanted this debate to happen for the reasons we cited? Anyways, Bro. Jerry’s  debate invitation is for Dr. Zakir; other SAN representatives are ready to debate other representatives of IRF.

However, your analogy of comparing Dr. Zakir Naik to Mike Tyson is inappropriate. How can you compare an evader to a fighter? Had you compared Bro. Shabir Ally, who had at least engaged, though unsuccessfully, with brilliant Christian debaters, it would have made some sense. But Dr. Zakir who is increasingly becoming known for evading effective Christian debaters (the latest being with Bro. Jerry), can by no stretch of imagination be compared to Mike Tyson in his heydays. Unless of course, you are referring to later deteriorated Mike Tyson playing foul games (biting Holyfield’s ear, if you remember) and the resultant ban on him from the international boxing!!!

Further, if Bro. Jerry is comparable to a street boy, we are glad that our God uses a street boy to destroy the courage of a petro-dollar funded and fuelled Dawah in Mumbai and demoralize enough Islamists (or followers of Dr. Zakir Naik? – time will tell) in Hyderabad that they resorted to legal jihad and cheap threats to get his public rebuttal of Dr. Zakir Naik cancelled. However, by the grace of Almighty Jesus Christ, the rebuttal did happen last week where Dr. Zakir’s DVD was played in front of a full house and point-by-point rebuttal was given which will, God willing, be soon telecasted on a satellite channel – the first in this series. Then the public will themselves evaluate and decide if this is a publicity stunt by SAN or whether Dr. Zakir Naik is evading this debate invitation for the reasons we mentioned. 

We wish you all the very best in your well rendered ‘protection’ of Dr. Naik: “I personally do not consider that Dr. Zakir Naik should read your earlier invitation neither the reply of yours.” After all, what is at stake is the many years of lies that he propagated about both Christianity and Islam. All we can humbly say is that the debate invitation is still open.

May the Almighty Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who alone has assured Salvation, lead all the brothers at IRF to His Glorious Kingdom. Amen.

Thanks and regards.

George John

August 3, 2010


SAN Note: Please forward this correspondence to every Christian who is engaged with Dr. Zakir Naik and his groups so that next time when any IRF officals approach Christians with a challenge, Christian may redirect them to SAN and challenge in turn to debate with SAN.

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6 Responses

  1. Great comments from SAN, even on “INVITATION” Debate.. IRF never stood a chance against SAN.. LOL..Anyways we ( me and my family ) will continue blessing SAN and all its members in our prayers asking, our LORD the only way for salvation to give you guys enough and more strength to open your mouth wide in the field of spiritual battle. We need all these people (muslim brotherhood) who has been lead by the blind to know the truth.

    GOD bless u all.

    Glory to the LORD.

    With blessings in prayers

    Spartton Augustin

  2. The letter from IRF clearly shows that they don’t want to have a debate. This is what an impartial reader understands.

  3. I understand Zakir has evaded debates with Dr. Ravi Zakharia also out of fear of losing. If Zakir is a real debater and Dawa preacher, forget about Jerry, he should be ready to answer any one who is challenging the Islam faith so that he can win somone to Islam. This guy seems to come only when there is money or publicity leading to petro dollar. Any way let his first answer my small question Sura 2:256 ?

  4. Yes, your argument is correct :)

    But if you see in Question and Answer section of Zakir Naik speech, only non-muslim people are given oppurtunity to ask questions. Why not you put your query there.

  5. I am hungry waiting for Zakir Naik and his people to respond for all the practical invitations to defend his claims. Wait a Minute! Is he Alive still?. If yes, Once in his lifetime, let him not face Bro. Sam, Bro. David. Bro. Robert spencer not Even Bro.Jerry Thomas, BUT FACE ME in the public and see how I smash his claims. Everybody knows that his claims wouldn’t stand for scrutiny.

  6. Brother Jerry,
    If you want, I’m ready to have debate with you.

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