News Analysis |
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday that he will not give in easily just because there were demands from India to extradite Dr. Zakir Naik. Mahathir Mohamad said his government would always ensure that it looked into all factors before responding to any such demand. “Otherwise, someone will become a victim,” the New Straits Times quoted him as saying.
“We do not easily follow the demands of others. We must look at all factors before we respond,” he said. The Prime Minister was asked if some parties in his coalition government wanted to expel the preacher, who is now a permanent resident of Malaysia, and is wanted by the Indian government on charges of money-laundering and terror links?
The leader of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), Ramasamy Palanisamy, said that he suspected that there was some secret deal between Malaysia and India. Mohamad last week said the cleric will not be handed over to Indian authorities as he had been granted permanent resident status in Malaysia.
The social media has become ablazed with pro Hindutva activists calling for sanctions and boycott of Malaysian products. While others have pointed out to the assertion that Zakir Naik has been targeted by the Hindutva government in order to accumulate Hindu votes.
He had said that Dr. Naik, who left India in 2016, would be allowed to stay in Malaysia as long as he did not create any problem. However, the decision did not go down well with several groups, who insisted that the government return Naik to India following his alleged tendencies to make racial and religiously insensitive remarks, the report said.
It was reported that New Delhi had made a formal request for Naik to be returned to India after accusing him of inciting youngsters towards terror activities. Naik has accused the Indian media of vilifying him over the past two years.
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Meanwhile, Dr Zakir Naik expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian government for not deporting him back to India where he is wanted for assisting in terrorism-related investigations. In a statement through an aide, the Mumbai-born who is now a Malaysian permanent resident also committed to not breaking any laws during his stay here.
“I thank the Malaysian government for examining the issue from an unbiased perspective, and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his decision to allow me to stay here, as long as I continue to abide by the law and support the peace and harmony of this country,” he said.
The Prime Minister was asked if some parties in his coalition government wanted to expel the preacher, who is now a permanent resident of Malaysia, and is wanted by the Indian government on charges of money-laundering and terror links?
He then expressed disappointment over some local media reports, which he claimed had tarnished his image by linking him to terror-related activities, and accused him of delivering hate speeches. “Some sections of the media have attacked me for my supposed ‘incitement of terror’, and it would be naive not to assume that this was done with a broader objective of demonizing Islam and Muslims. Unable to find any evidence against me, they resorted to doctored video clips, out-of-context quotations and a host of dishonest schemes to accuse me of terrorism, hate speech and even money laundering.
Dr Zakir reiterated his assertions that none of his speeches was objected to by non-Muslims in India, his homeland, until 2012, during which he claimed “a group of religious fanatics” had then sought to tarnish his image. He insisted that he has never promoted terror using Islam in 25 years of preaching. Dr Zakir also praised Malaysia’s unity and diversity and expressed gratitude for being allowed to be a part of the community.
“I am humbled to be a part of this diversity, and I also acknowledge the sensitivities it entails. I would never wish to disrupt or jeopardize this balance in any way, or to break the rule of law of this country, because it is my primary concern to foster the social harmony currently enjoyed by its citizens.
“Finally, while I hope that justice and peace return to my homeland, India, I remain indebted to Malaysia — not just as one seeking fair treatment, but as an individual with a love of humanity,” he added.
The issue of Dr Zakir Naik’s extradition has turned into a nationalist issue by Indian right wingers. The social media has become ablazed with pro Hindutva activists calling for sanctions and boycott of Malaysian products. While others have pointed out to the assertion that Zakir Naik has been targeted by the Hindutva government in order to accumulate Hindu votes.