Vladivostok, September 5: Having a wide range of bilateral talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of extradition of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is wanted in India for fuelling extremism. Zakir Naik has been banned from giving public speeches anywhere in Malaysia after his remarks against Malaysian Hindus.
Addressing a press briefing, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, said, “Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Zakir Naik's extradition. Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us.”
Apparently, the Malaysian police have stated that their government has imposed a ban on the Islamic preacher in the interest of national security. The 53-year-old, Zakir Naik who is ‘wanted’ in India for fuelling extremism, is a controversial figure who labelled the 9/11 terror attacks an "inside job". He fled India three years ago and moved to Muslim-dominated Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency.
Naik is alleged to have made controversial remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Malaysian Chinese during a talk in Kota Baru on August 3, prompting calls for him to be deported to India. Under fire, the preacher apologised for his remarks but insisted that he was not a racist. He said his detractors had taken his comments out of context and added ‘strange fabrications to them’.
Reacting to Naik's controversial comments, Mahathir had said it was ‘quite clear’ that Naik wanted to participate in racial politics. The Malaysian Prime Minister said, “He is stirring up racial feelings. The police will have to investigate whether it is causing tension; obviously, it is.” Mahathir added that as a permanent resident, Naik was not allowed to participate in politics. "You can preach (religiously). But he wasn't doing that," he said. "He was talking about Chinese going back to China and Indians going back to India. I have never said such things. But he did. That is politics," the annoyed Malaysian prime minister said.
PM Modi met the Malaysian Prime Minister on the sidelines of the fifth meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in the Russian Far East Region. PM Modi arrived in Russia on Wednesday to participate in the 20th India-Russia annual summit and the EEF. On his arrival, Modi received a guard of honour at Vladivostok International Airport.