PETALING JAYA: Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik has accused his critics of quoting him out of context over his recent remarks on Hindus in Malaysia.
In a statement, he described the criticism against him as “mischievous”, claiming his detractors are attempting to politicise his remarks and create religious disharmony among Malaysians.
“Recordings of my talks will reveal that the reality is the opposite of what is being alleged,” he said on the comments he had made in response to a question on the plight of Muslims in India during a lecture in Kelantan.
Indian leaders subsequently spoke out against Naik, saying he had lamented that Hindus in Malaysia are more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad despite receiving “100 times” more rights than Muslims in India.
“What I said was in the context of my own case, that some Hindu groups opted to support the Modi government in its extradition request despite there being no evidence against me, and despite the fact that Interpol, the Indian court and Malaysian government have rejected the false accusations directed at me.”
Naik said it should be “obvious” to anybody who evaluates the situation “fairly” that he was being deliberately misrepresented.
He claimed his critics had misquoted him in an effort to get him arrested.
“But no just court of law, including the Malaysian court, will ever agree with their accusations,” he added.
Instead, he said, it was his accusers who should be “taken to task” for creating racial disharmony and hatred between two religious communities.
“Any attempts to create a communal rift are unfair towards the people of Malaysia and, I’m sure, inshaAllah, that these attempts will fail.”
Naik is wanted by Indian authorities who are seeking his extradition to face charges of money laundering in his home country.
However, Putrajaya has so far resisted India’s request with Mahathir questioning the likelihood of Naik receiving a fair trial.
Naik, who has permanent resident status in Malaysia, has denied the charges against him although he says he is prepared to face them.
However, he wants assurance from New Delhi that he will not be arrested until he is found guilty.