Malaysia refuses to deport India's wanted Zakir Naik
A day after India confirmed it has sought extradition of controversial preacher Zakir Naik, Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad said he won't be deported "as long as he is not creating any problem." "We won't deport him because he has been given permanent residency status," Mohamad told a press conference in Putrajaya. Naik is believed to have left India in 2016, eventually moving to Malaysia.
Naik, a Mumbai-based doctor-cum-televangelist, is late South-African based preacher Ahmed Deedat's follower. His speeches on Peace TV gained immense followings in Bangladesh, India and China, before the channel was banned for peddling Salafist Islam. He came under NIA's radar after terrorists involved in the 2016 Dhaka cafe attack alleged that they were inspired by his speeches. Subsequently, he fled from India.
NIA has been systematically cracking down on Zakir, registering a case, gathering evidence and filing a chargesheet. The chargesheet included 85 incriminating statements that NIA's sleuths recorded during the investigation, plus statements by his sister Nailah Noorani and close aide Amir Gazdar, accused of money-laundering by the Enforcement Directorate. It also names his firms Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and Harmony Media Private Ltd.
The fight to bring Naik back hasn't yielded much fruit. In December, Interpol refused to issue a Red Notice against him. It cited "a severe lack of evidentiary basis, politico-religious bias, and failure to follow due process of law and lack of international interest" as reasons. It is noteworthy that the chargesheet had been filed in October'17, much after India contacted Interpol in May.
The Malaysian PM's comments come two days after Naik said he has "no plans to come to India till I don't feel safe from unfair prosecution." "When I feel that the government will be just and fair, I will surely return to my homeland."