Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, pointed out that although Indian-born preacher Zakir Naik does pose a problem to Malaysia’s multi-religious fabric, Putrajaya cannot send him anywhere.
Dr Mahathir said other countries do not want him. Malaysia won’t send him back to India fearing the preacher will not get a fair trial.
The Malaysian Premier said this an interview with Turkish international news channel TRT World.
In a veiled warning to Zakir, Dr Mahathir said, “We have a multiracial and multi religious population in Malaysia. We don’t want anybody who comes up and expresses extreme views about race relations and about other religions.”
Non-Muslims and some Malays have criticised the government for ‘harbouring’ the preacher, claiming he is a danger to religious harmony.
Some blame him for speaking in favour of radical Islam, which his supporters deny vehemently. India also describes Zakir as an extremist. Western nations consider him an advocate of hate speech.
But according to Dr Mahathir, Malaysia has no choice but to allow Dr Zakir Naik to live in Malaysia. Zakir holds a Malaysian permanent resident permit.
He is wanted by the Indian authorities but New Delhi did not get Interpol to issue a red notice against the preacher, making it difficult for Malaysia to execute India’s request for his extradition.
New Delhi is again pressing Interpol for the red corner notice.
The latest attempt by Indian authorities to get Interpol to issue the red notice failed. Zakir Naik says Interpol’s refusal to issue the red notice is proof of India’s trumped-up charges.
Zakir made a seven minutes speech on YouTube thanking God and Interpol for not issuing the so-called ‘red corner notice’.
A letter dated July 22 signed by Secretariat to the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files said that Zakir is “not subject to an Interpol Red Notice or diffusion”.
In the video, Zakir explains that religion orders people to speak the truth and there is no other virtue that is more valuable than that.
Permanent residents in Malaysia cannot do politics or get involved in political parties but it does not bar them from speaking on religious matters.
There are no indications Zakir will face any ban from public speaking, which is the bone of contention in the Pakatan Harapan government. -/TISG