KUALA LUMPUR: Malay right-wing group Perkasa has honoured fugitive Indian preacher Zakir Naik with its warrior award for his contributions towards the struggle of Islam.
The move comes a day after reports that India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has decided to seek an Interpol notice against Naik, who is wanted for a probe on his activities there.
Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali presented the “Anugerah Bintang Pahlawan Pribumi Perkasa Negara” medal to Naik at a ceremony at the Universiti Malaya Alumni Clubhouse today.
Ibrahim placed a red sash bearing the name of the award around Naik during the event titled “Convergence of 150 Intellectuals with Dr Zakir Naik: Countering Islamophobia”.
Naik, the first international figure to receive the award, was also donned with a songkok and made an honorary member of the NGO.
Perkasa had previously given the award to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former information minister Zainuddin Maidin.
Naik is also a recipient of the “Tokoh Maal Hijrah” award from the government in 2013.
Ibrahim called on Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy and 18 other individuals to withdraw their suit against the government for allegedly harbouring Naik. The suit was filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court registry on March 1.
They claimed that Naik encouraged terrorism and that his presence in Malaysia was a serious threat to the country’s safety.
Perkasa had, in March, filed an application to intervene in the suit.
“I hope Hindraf can erase the negative perception towards Zakir’s lectures on Islam,” Ibrahim said.
The Times of India (TOI) reported yesterday that India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) will seek an Interpol notice against Naik to curb his movements if he fails to turn up for a probe on his activities tomorrow, after defying repeated summonses.
It quoted an NIA official as saying the “red corner” notice would be issued once a non-bailable warrant against him is procured.
In November last year, India banned Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) for five years, citing his “objectionable and subversive” speeches. This action was part of investigations into the IRF by the authorities in the country.
According to a TOI report that month, the authorities had cited criminal cases filed against Naik and other members of IRF in Mumbai and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Kerala, as well as his “dubious” links with Peace TV that allegedly features “communal” and “pro-jihad” content, as reasons for the banning of the “unlawful organisation”.
On March 12, Sinar Harian quoted Naik as saying in an interview that the Indian government should take up any case against him in an international court, or even in Malaysia.