Malaysia bans Zakir Naik from speaking on all platforms

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 17:01, Aug 21, 2019 | Updated : 17:03, Aug 21, 2019

People hold placards as they shout slogans during a protest against Zakir Naik, an Indian Islamic preacher and founder of Islamic Research Foundation, in New Delhi, India, July 18, 2016. REUTERS/File PhotoMalaysia has banned Zakir Naik from speaking on all platforms including in social media until a police investigation against the controversial Islamic preacher is completed, reports local media.
Naik, who faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India, has come under fire for comments that pitted Malaysia's ethnic and religious minorities against the predominantly Muslim Malay majority.
Malaysian police grilled Naik for 10 hours on Monday about a speech earlier this month in which he said Hindus in Malaysia had "100 times more rights" than the Muslim minority in India, and that Malaysian Chinese were guests of the country, according to a Reuters report.
“A directive has been issued by police whereby Naik is prohibited from making any further speeches after the episode in Kelantan recently, which is aimed at giving us time to complete investigations relating to reports lodged on that episode,” state news agency Bernama quoted the country’s police chief Abdul Hamid Bador as saying.
“With this directive, all state police chiefs are responsible to advise any parties having plans to invite Naik to give public lectures not to do so,” said Bador.
The police chief said said Naik’s recent lecture in Kelantan had caused public uneasiness and confusion, and the police require time to get to the bottom of the case.
“We will get the facts on what actually transpired,” he was quoted as saying.
He also clarified that the directive will be temporary, and was issued to keep the peace.
“It was a fair directive to keep a calm situation, it is temporary, and if things are still messy, the directive will stay,” he reportedly said.
“It is clear that we don’t want these religious lectures, forums to include political issues. It is inappropriate for religious lectures to include political issues, whether local or international,” said the police chief
Zakir NaikRace and religion are sensitive issues in Malaysia, where Muslims make up about 60 percent of its 32 million people. The rest are mostly ethnic Chinese and Indians, most of whom are Hindus.
Naik, who has lived in Malaysia for about three years, 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".
"It was never my intention to upset any individual or community," he previously said in a statement.
"It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding," Naik said.
Naik has permanent residency in Malaysia. Several ministers called for his expulsion after his controversial remarks.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Sunday Naik was free to preach about Islam but should not speak about Malaysia's racial politics, state media reported.