ZAKIR Naik will not be extradited tonight, said the inspector-general of police. Police have denied reports in Indian media that controversial preacher Zakir Naik will be deported to India, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of money laundering and spreading extremism. “We have not received any information on the matter. So I’m denying reports he will be deported today,” Inspector-General of Police Mohamed Fuzi Harun told.
Mohamad Fuzi Harun’s confirmation puts to rest earlier reports that the controversial preacher would be handed over to Indian authorities by today. “It is not true. He will not be extradited to India tonight,” he said. Earlier today, Indian media reported that the controversial Muslim preacher would be deported today. India’s NDTV had reported that Naik would be “out of the country tonight”, quoting Bukit Aman’s counter-terrorism officer Mohammed Raby Abu Bakar. But Naik’s Malaysian lawyer has denied being served with any extradition notice. “It is not true. We have not received any extradition notice,”said Shaharuddin Ali, who represents Naik. He noted that any formal request to deport his client must come from the home ministry or the foreign affairs ministry.
Zakir, however, through his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation, denied that he would return to India any time soon. The controversial Islamic preacher said he would not return home till he felt “safe from unfair prosecution”. “The news of my coming to India is totally baseless and false. I have no plans to come to India as I don’t feel safe from unfair prosecution. Inshaallah, when I feel that the government will be just and fair, I will surely return to my homeland.” said Zakir. The controversial preacher left India in 2016 and has been living in Putrajaya in Malaysia since. He was also given a permanent residency and embraced by top Malaysian government officials of the former Barisan Nasional government.
When NDTV asked why he was “welcome” there, the source said: “You will have to ask the last government.” Indian investigators have been demanding that Malaysia hand him over as he is wanted by the anti-terror National Investigation Agency. Malaysia said India had failed to produce a red corner notice – which acts like an international arrest warrant – against him. “In our conversations with Indian authorities like RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), we said please give us an Interpol notice and we will arrest him, but they failed to do so,” said an official. There has been speculation about a change of policy on Zakir Naik’s stay in Malaysia after the exit of the Najib Razak government, the legal fight for which is on in court.
The Home Minister of Malaysia was recently quoted as saying that Zakir Naik was subject to local laws if he had committed a crime. However, the police authorities couldn’t confirm if his return was part of negotiations with India. Last year, the India National Investigation Agency (NIA) prepared charges against Zakir Naik, saying he has been “promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through public speeches and lectures.” Zakir Naik, a 52-year-old medical doctor, has in his inflammatory speeches recommended death penalty for homosexuals and those who abandon Islam. He is heard saying in a YouTube video that if Osama bin Laden was “terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him”. The controversial preacher known for hate speeches that allegedly inspired an ISIS terrorist involved in the 2016 Dhaka attack.
A channel called “Peace TV”, which features Zakir Naik’s preachings, was banned by Bangladesh after reports claimed that terrorists at a Dhaka cafe that killed 22 people were inspired by him. India’s National Investigation Agency is also probing Naik’s NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, over allegations of money laundering.