PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday that an Indian Islamic preacher allegedly wanted in his home country for terror-related activities and hate speech will not be sent back.

Zakir Naik, a television preacher, reportedly left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi asked for him to be extradited in January. The two countries have an extradition treaty.

“As long as he is not creating any problem, we will not deport him because he has been given permanent residency status,” Mahathir said at a news conference in ad­­m­inistrative capital Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur, when asked about the reports.

The reports say India had asked for Naik to be sent back for allegedly inciting youth to engage in terror act­ivities via his hate speeches.

Naik, 52, has described the media reports as “totally baseless and false”, adding that he has no plans to return to India until he felt “safe from unfair prosecution”.

In 2010 Naik was reportedly barred from entering Britain after the Home Sec­retary cited “numerous comments” which showed his “un­­­­acceptable behaviour”.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2018

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