The extradition drama for radical preacher Zakir Naik, just got embroiled in another controversy. Even as earlier, India had categorically stated that they have requested Malaysia to start the process of extradition, the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has now taken a u-turn and said that PM Narendra Modi did not ask for the controversial Islamic preacher.
“Zakir Naik isn’t a national of this country, he was given permanent status by the previous government. A permanent resident is not supposed to make comments on the country’s system or politics. He breached that so now he isn’t allowed to speak,” Mahathir Mohamad was quoted as saying by local media.
On the question of Naik’s extradition, the Malaysian PM clearly stated, “not many countries want him. I met Prime Minister Modi, he didn’t ask me for him. This man could also be troublesome for India.” He also said that Malaysia is still looking for a place to send Zakir Naik to.
The statement comes as a contradiction to India’s stand on the issue, as earlier Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said that PM Modi raised the issue of Naik’s extradition during a meeting with his counterpart on the sidelines of the fifth meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).
“Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us,” Gokhale had said.
Naik, a 53-year-old radical television preacher, left India in 2016 and moved to Malaysia, after he was granted permanent residency there. He is wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches.
After his remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese in August earlier this year, he has been banned from any public activities in the multi-ethnic country.
He is also facing probe both in India and Bangladesh in connection with the terror attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka in July 2016. Naik’s activities are under constant monitoring of the Malaysian authorities.