Hindraf asks UN body to act on ‘Zakir Naik threat’

waytha-zakir-pbbPETALING JAYA: Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy has asked the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) to advise Malaysia as a member state to stop harbouring Islamist preacher Zakir Naik who is on the run from India.

In a letter to CTC chairman Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta yesterday, he said Naik may have shifted his base of operations to Malaysia to promote or support sectarian activities.

“We, in Malaysia, do not want our country to be used for terrorist installations or training camps, or for the preparation or organisation of terrorist acts intended to be committed either domestically or internationally,” he wrote.

He asked the CTC to advise the Malaysian representative there to cooperate by denying Naik safe haven, revoke his permanent residency (PR), freeze his assets and activities, and apply the “principle of extradition”.

“The ability for Dr Zakir Naik to freely conduct public lecturers in Malaysian universities, public events, associate with local movements to train protégés with his ideology with the blessing of current government leaders does not sit very well with the non-Muslim community as well as a sizeable Muslim community in Malaysia,” he said.

He said Malaysia had encountered a similar situation previously when two Indonesians – Hambali @ Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin and Abu Bakar Bashir @ Abdus Samad – were given PR status by the Home Ministry before being arrested.

He said they were members of terrorist groups Jemaah Islamiah and Kumpulan Militan Malaysia(KMM).

Waythamoorthy said checks on Naik’s speeches, his Peace TV channel in India and the website of his now banned Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in Mumbai give insights on how he played “a crucial role” in breeding sectarianism and promoting radicalisation.

“The home grown jihadists in India are greatly inspired by the fiery speeches of Naik,” he said.

He cited several individuals as Naik’s notable followers, including suicide bomber Najibullah Zazi who was arrested in 2009 for allegedly conspiring to bomb the New York subway, Kafil Ahmed who stormed the Glasgow airport in 2007, and Rahil Sheikh who was arrested over train blasts in Mumbai in 2006.

He also included in the list Feroz Deshmukh, the alleged mastermind of a 2006 arms haul case in Aurangabad, India, Rohan Imtiaz who stormed a Dhaka bakery in 2016, and Ayaz Sultan who left India to join Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Waythamoorthy said Naik has been given impunity to “move around freely promoting enmity” between different religious groups, in a manner harmful to harmony in Malaysia.

Naik, who was based in Mumbai, became a fugitive when he escaped from India as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) there began probing him.

The NIA is reportedly seeking a Red Notice from Interpol after Naik defied repeated summons.

The Red Notice, a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition, is the closest instrument to an international warrant of arrest.

On April 18, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi disclosed that Naik had been given his Malaysian PR more than five years ago, adding that it was issued before he took over the post of home minister in May 2013.