Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik issued a statement thanking Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for examining his deportation demand from an “unbiased perspective” and allowing him to stay in Malaysia as long as he abides by the country’s law.
“I would never wish to disrupt or jeopardise 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,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This decision reaffirms my faith in Malaysia’s justice & communal harmony & is a testimony to success of multiracial diversity of this country…I hope that justice and peace return to my homeland, India,” said the Islamic preacher who described himself as an “individual with a love of humanity”.
The Malaysian government on Tuesday rejected India’s call for Naik’s extradition stating that the preacher had been granted Malaysian permanent resident status.
Mohamad said that 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.
Zakir claimed that he never made the “appalling statements” in the videos, social media posts and news articles attributed to him.
“To anybody who does not want Islam to be presented as a religion of peace, this is a quick and dirty way to discredit the faith. I implore anybody who comes across such material to verify it before jumping to conclusions,” he 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 to commit terror activities through hate speeches. Naik has accused the Indian media of vilifying him over the past two years.