Tun M: We Can’t Send Zakir Naik Back Because Countries Don't Want Him
Malaysia is in a catch-22 situation when it comes to Zakir Naik, according to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
According to Tun M, while Malaysia doesn't want anybody who expresses "extreme views about race relations" and about other religions, at the same time the country is finding it difficult to send the preacher away because other countries do not want him.
"We have a multiracial and multi-religious population in Malaysia. We don’t want anybody who comes up and expresses extreme views about race relations and about other religions," the Prime Minister was quoted as saying by theSundaily yesterday.
"So to that extent, we cannot have him, but on the other hand, it is difficult to send him anywhere else because many countries do not want to have him."
He was speaking to Imran Garda of the Turkish news channel TRT World, which aired an interview with the Prime Minister on Monday, 29 July.
Tun M's remarks come as moderation advocate Anas Zubedy published an open letter yesterday, 31 July, in which he appealed to the controversial preacher to "leave Malaysia voluntarily"
In his open letter that was first published on his blog, Zubedy wrote that while he would like to thank Zakir Naik for "many of the universal messages of Islam" that he has shared over the years, his appeal for the preacher to voluntarily leave Malaysia is due to the fact that his presence in the country had a negative impact on non-Muslims' sentiments towards Islam and slowed down political revitalisation.
The moderation advocate also said that "comparative religious debates do not work in Malaysia" where "non-Muslims are not allowed to counter your points when you give your views about their faith, let alone start a debate about Islam."
"It is illegal [for non-Muslims] to preach to Muslims," Zubedy added.
"When a new upstart convert like Firdaus Wong (perhaps someone who is emulating you) suggests that it is easier to be a Muslim rather than a Buddhist, a Buddhist cannot really counter back with his argument to say otherwise," he wrote in the letter.
Considered a controversial preacher for his sermons, which have been branded as hate speech, Zakir Naik has been accused of inciting terrorism. He was formally charged with money laundering by India's Enforcement Directorate (ED) about three months back.
However, the preacher has continually denied the charges against him, calling the Indian Government's stand on him as "witch hunt".
On Tuesday, Interpol ordered the deletion of his name from its database, thus giving him a clean chit in terror charges slapped against him by India’s National Investigating Agency (NIA). Zakir Naik said that the decision should not come as a surprise to the Indian agencies who know in their hearts that their charges are fictitious.
"You can't get Interpol to play your political, communal game.
"It needs proof of your claims and the reason why it continues to refuse a red corner notice is because the Indian agencies are unable to provide proof," the preacher said.
He also quoted one of the central philosophical concepts of Hinduism, saying: "Satyameva Jayate, Nanritam", meaning that "truth alone triumphs, not falsehood."
Back in June, Tun Dr Mahathir reiterated the Government's refusal to deport Zakir Naik saying "he would not be accorded justice":