Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, on Tuesday, said that his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi did not request the extradition of Islamic speaker Dr Zakir Naik when the two leaders met in Russia this month.
“Not many countries want him. I met with Modi. He didn’t ask me for this man,” Mahathir told the Kuala Lumpur-based BFM Malaysia radio station on Tuesday morning.
He also said that Malaysia is still looking for a place to send Dr Naik.
Mahathir also reaffirmed that Dr Naik will no longer be allowed to publicly speak in Malaysia following his allegedly racially divisive remarks which include saying that the Chinese in the country should be sent back to China.
“Well, he’s not a national of this country. He has been given, I think by the previous government, permanent residence status. A permanent resident isn’t supposed to make any comments on this country’s systems and politics. He has breached that. He is now not allowed to speak.”
“We are trying to find someplace he can go to but at the moment, no one wants to accept him,” the Prime Minister added.
Dr Naik has been living in Malaysia, where he has permanent residency and is known to be close to officials in the Malaysian administration.
The Islamic speaker came under an intense media storm, after a newspaper in Bangladesh, reported that one of the attackers of the 1st July 2016 Dhaka attack had shared one of his speeches on Facebook.
Although the Dhaka-based newspaper Daily Star, later clarified that Dr Naik did not inspire the Dhaka terror attack, however, the government and media houses have continued their campaign against the Islamic speaker, accusing him of being an “inspiration behind terror attacks across the world”.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against Dr Naik under anti-terror laws in the same year for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups, the charges, which he and his supporters have vehemently denied.