No place for hatemongers, says Malaysian Deputy Minister on Zakir Naik

Zakir Naik

“We don’t agree with extremism. Whoever speaks and destroys the fabric of pluralism and beauty of nationalism will have to be out of our country,” S K Devamany, the Malaysian Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office  said responding to a question on Indian fugitive Zakir Naik.

Malaysia and India have been constantly engaged on the issue of extraditing the Muslim preacher although no formal request has been made by India.

The Malaysian Deputy Minister spoke to India Today on the sidelines of the PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) Parliamentarians Conference that was held in New Delhi on Tuesday. Naik who enjoys ‘Permanent Resident’ status in Malaysia has been a bone of contention between India and Malaysia.

Devamany said the country is yet to have clarity on the question of Naik’s “citizenship”. “In Zakir Naik’s context, we don’t know if the citizenship is through yet. We have to actually tell whether if he is right or wrong. But as far as we are concerned, nobody can come from outside and tell us what to do and how to practice our religion. We are united in harmony,” he said.

Questioning Naik’s teachings he said, “their Islam is not as is seen in our country. I am a Hindu so I don’t want to comment on that because interpretations can be different. But we do not condone any form of extremism or people who want to break the beauty of Malaysian diversity and harmony.”

Hinting towards the meeting that would take place on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN commemorative meet to be held on the January 25 where the two Prime Ministers would also hold bilateral meetings, he said that the two sides could work out a solution then. He said, “When the leaders meet, I hope the Indian side will raise it and the matter can be resolved amicably.”


ASEAN leaders would be in New Delhi as chief guests for the Republic Day parade. Much is pinned on the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak.The 52-year-old Muslim preacher, Zakir Naik, was reportedly charged under India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for heading an “unlawful association”; he was also charged with inciting youth to take up terror acts and to join global terror groups such as the Islamic State.

Deputy Minister Devamany also reiterated Malaysia’s firm support in fighting terrorism with the policy of ‘moderation’ that the country has adopted to keep at bay extremist forces and voices.

Talking about Malaysia’s stand of moderation which is called “wasatia” in Islam he said, “When my Prime Minister comes here on the January 25 and January 26, terrorism would be an important item on the agenda. We should come together as a regional coalition:  ASEAN, India, China, Asia-Pacific so that terrorism is controlled, not just through rhetoric but also through creating a framework of efficient planning. That is necessary and through an agreement with all. The Prime Minister recently also has asked Islamic institutions to play a very important and serious role in curtailing extremism.”


Source: India Today

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