Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad Friday ruled out the deportation of the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to India if he does not create problems in Malaysia, where he has permanent residency status.
In January, India had made a formal request to Malaysia to deport Naik, wanted by India for allegedly inciting youngsters for terror activities through his hate speeches. India also has an extradition treaty
But Mahathir said Naik will not be sent back.
“As long as he is not creating any problem, we will not deport him because he has been given permanent residency status,” he said at a news conference when asked about the reports of Naik’s imminent deportation.
Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had also said previously that Naik would have to answer to the Malaysian authorities if he broke any of the nation’s laws.
Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police Mohamed Fuzi Harun had Thursday denied news reports that Naik was to be deported, Malaysian media reported.
There were media reports this week about 52-year-old Naik’s deportation to India by the Malaysian government.
Following the reports, Naik, said he would not return to India till he felt “safe from unfair prosecution”.
He is being probed under terror and money laundering charges by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He had left India in July, 2016.
The NIA had first registered a case against Naik under anti-terror laws in 2016 for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups
The NIA and Mumbai Police, subsequently, had also carried out searches at ten places in Mumbai including residential premises of some of the office bearers of the foundation run by Naik.
The foundation was earlier put on restricted list by the Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad.
Naik is also under investigation for issuing alleged hate speeches that inspired a deadly terror attack on a popular cafe in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh in 2016.