Zakir Naik banned from giving speeches in Malaysia

Zakir Naik banned from giving speeches in Malaysia, reported Malaysian Media

Zakir Naik banned from giving speeches in Malaysia

NH Web Desk

Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has been banned from speaking in public in Malaysia, days after he allegedly made racial remarks against ethnic Hindus and Chinese during a lecture. A circular was issued to all state-level police chiefs informing them about the ban.

According to a report in The Star Online, Royal Malaysia Police corporate communications head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Asmawati Ahmad said, “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.”

On Monday, Naik was summoned to The Royal Malaysia Police Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur for the second time in recent weeks to record his statement in connection with the racial remarks.

Zakir Naik, a radical television preacher who has called the 9/11 attacks an "inside job", left India in 2016 and moved to largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency.

He is wanted in India for inciting extremism and money laundering, and New Delhi last year reportedly asked Malaysia to extradite him -- a request that was rejected.

Calls have escalated for Naik to be kicked out after he said Hindus in Malaysia have "100 times" more rights than India's Muslim minority, and suggested Chinese Malaysians should be expelled before he was.

He was questioned by police for 10 hours Monday on suspicion of committing an intentional insult aimed at provoking a breach of the peace.

On Tuesday, Naik said in a statement his detractors had taken his remarks out of context and added "strange fabrications".

But he went on: "It was never my intention to upset any individual or community.

"It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding." Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said Naik crossed the line and several cabinet ministers have called for him to be kicked out, while police have banned him from giving public talks anywhere in Malaysia, state news agency Bernama reported.

The government has in the past appeared reluctant to move against Naik for fear it could upset some Muslims and provide ammunition to political opponents.

About 60 per cent of Malaysia's 32 million inhabitants are Muslim and the country is also home to substantial ethnic Indian and Chinese communities.

In a July 2008 broadcast Naik -- who founded the popular Peace TV channel -- suggested that Al-Qaeda was not responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

"Even a fool will know that this was an inside job," he said in the video, claiming then-President George W. Bush was behind the plot.

with PTI inputs

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Published: 20 Aug 2019, 9:07 AM