Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday said controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is allegedly wanted in India for terror-related activities and hate speech, would not be sent back.
Dr. Naik reportedly left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had made a formal request to the government of Malaysia for his extradition last January and has been pursuing it through diplomatic channels.
“As long as he is not creating any problem, we will not deport him because he has been given permanent residency status,” Mr. Mahathir said at a news conference in administrative capital Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur.
Dr. Naik is facing a probe by the National Investigation Agency and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after his sermons on his Peace TV were cited as a reason by Bangladesh for an attack in Dhaka in 2016, which killed 22 people.
Dr. Naik’s NGO – Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) – has also been declared unlawful since 2016 and is being probed by the ED over allegations of money laundering to the tune of more than Rs. 18 crore.