Zakir Naik, the controversial Indian Islamic televangelist and the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) on Monday was banned from giving speeches in Malaysia in the interests of “national security”.
Naik had been charged with making inflammatory speeches and questioned by local police over his intent to provoke a breach in peace by making remarks about Hindu and Chinese communities living in the Muslim-majority nation.
“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,” Datuk Asmawati Ahmad, Police Head of Corporate Communications, was quoted in an ANI report.
Naik, who was granted permanent residency in Malaysia, has now been barred from holding religious talks in several Malaysian states.
Naik has been living in Malaysia for the last three years and has attracted criticism for his remarks against non-Muslim minorities, especially the Chinese and Hindus in Malaysia.
Earlier this month, in his racial comments, Naik had said that Hindus in Malaysia get “100 times more rights” than the Muslim minority gets in India, and yet they support the “Prime Minister of India and not the Prime Minister of Malaysia.”
“It was never my intention to upset any individual or community”, Naik said in his statement.
In July last year, India made a formal request to Malaysia asking for his extradition.
However, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir said he would not be deported “as long as he is not creating any problem”.
Zakir Naik, 53, a controversial figure who labelled the 9/11 terror attacks an “inside job”, fled India three years ago and moved to Muslim-dominated Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency by the previous government.
Last week, Prime Minister Mahathir said that status could be revoked if it could be proven that his actions had harmed his country’s “well-being”.
Mahathir said that as a permanent resident Zakir Naik is not allowed to participate in politics.
The Malaysian government has previously appeared reluctant to move against Zakir Naik for fear it could upset some Muslims as well as provide ammunition to political opponents.