Kuala Lumpur: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has been banned from giving pubic speeches anywhere in Malaysia, police said late night on Monday.
Authorities have been questioning Naik from last two days over his intent to provoke a peace breach by allegedly making remarks against Hindus and Chinese residing in Muslim-majority nation.
Naik, who is wanted in India, was granted permanent residency in Malaysia by the previous government. He is living in the country from the last three years. Malaysia police have confirmed the ban, reported local media. The police said that the ban was imposed in the “interest of national security”.
“Yes. Such an order has been given to all police contingents, and this was done in the interest of national security and to preserve racial harmony,” Police Head of Corporate Communications Datuk Asmawati Ahmad told Malay Mail last night.
Recently, in response to calls for his own deportation, Naik — during a religious talk titled “Executive Talk Bersama Dr Zakir Naik” — had asked the Malaysian Chinese to “go back” first as they were the “old guests” of the country.
His speech at the same venue was also condemned by many parties after he compared the Hindus in Malaysia with Muslims in India, saying that the Hindus here enjoyed more than 100 per cent rights as compared to Muslims in India.
“We will need to take action to prevent him from making such speeches, which tend to pit races against each other,” Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad had said on Friday.
On being asked whether Naik should issue a public apology for his statement, Mahathir said that he does not think the move would appease the public.
“I don’t know about demanding a public apology. I don’t think it will assuage the anger of many people,” said Mahathir.
“We leave it to the police to investigate the seriousness of the statements that he has made.”
Naik is facing charges of inciting communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities in India. He is also facing probe both in India and Bangladesh in connection with the terror attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka on July 2016.
India had said it has made a formal request to Malaysia and will continue to pursue his extradition.
However, Mahathir had recently said that his country has the right not to extradite Naik, for similar reasons that Australia had turned down his country’s request to extradite Sirul Azhar Umar in 2015. He also said that Naik believes that he would not be accorded justice in India.
Muslims make up about 60 per cent of its 32 million people in Malaysia. The rest are mostly ethnic Chinese and Indians, most of whom are Hindus.
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