PETALING JAYA: Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said a report published by Times of India yesterday, regarding controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, was based merely on speculation.
This is especially on the part claiming that Naik is currently hiding in Malaysia.
“They had in the past, also reported wrongly when claiming that the Malaysian government had given Naik citizenship,” he said in a text message to FMT last night, adding that Naik only holds permanent resident status.
The Times of India in its report, stated that Naik had 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.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had previously been reported as saying that 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 notice be issued against Naik. 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 was reported to have been influenced by his speeches.
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.
The report said he claimed that all his speeches had only promoted peace and that he had never advocated terrorism 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 and Malaysia, that India had revoked Naik’s passport. Previously, Naik was reported to have been given citizenship by the Saudi government.