Zakir Naik to Interpol: I’ve never promoted jihad

zakir-interpolKUALA LUMPUR: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik is contesting India’s request to Interpol for a red-corner notice against him.

The Times of India reported today that Naik told Interpol, in a letter, that he did not support Islamic jihad and that he was being persecuted simply because he was a Muslim.

According to the report, Naik, who is on the run, is currently hiding in Malaysia. Naik was given permanent resident status by the Malaysian government about five years ago.

India’s National Investigations Agency (NIA) had, in May, written to Interpol asking that a red-corner notice be issued against him. This would mean that he would be officially declared an international fugitive and police in any country would be authorised to arrest him.

Naik is wanted for questioning in India over money-laundering and terrorism-related crimes. Naik fled India in 2016, after a suspect in a terror attack on a Dhaka cafe, in Bangladesh, said he had been influenced by Naik’s speeches, and Bangladesh banned his Peace TV channel.

The Times of India, quoting sources, said Naik had argued, in his letter to Interpol, that the Indian agencies were unfairly targeting him because he was a Muslim.

He claimed that Indian prisons were in poor condition and that he would be subjected to torture if he were to be sent to an Indian jail in the event a red-corner notice were to be issued against him.

The report said he claimed that all his speeches had only promoted peace and that he had never advocated terror or jihad. He added that he had been delivering speeches on Islam for the past 25 years across several countries and that he was respected and welcomed in these countries.

The report also said Interpol had informed all countries, including Saudi Arabia, that India had revoked Naik’s passport. Earlier, there were reports that Saudi Arabia had issued him a passport.