Malaysia has said it will send back controversial televangelist Zakir Naik upon the request from Indian government.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this on Wednesday amid reports that the Muslim preacher is now in the Southeast Asian country and India is considering extradition request ‘very soon’.
He told Parliament that India had not yet requested extradition but his country will go ahead with deportation if requested via the Mutual Legal Assistance programme between the two governments.
Zakir, 52, is accused of inciting youth to take up terror acts and join terror outfits such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), reports Singapore-based The Straits Times.
He has reportedly recommended the death penalty for homosexuals and those who abandon Islam as their faith.
A Youtube video shows him saying that if Osama bin Laden "is terrorising America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him".
Bangladesh suspended Peace TV channel, which features his preachings, after some media reports claimed bombers of a Dhaka cafe that killed 22 people last year were fans of Zakir.
Zakir has denied the accusations against him and has claimed that he was being targeted by India's Hindu nationalist government because of his popularity.
The preacher has a substantial following in Malaysia, with both Dr Zahid and Prime Minister Najib Razak posting photos taken with him last year on Facebook.
Opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) had previously urged the government to disregard any potential Indian extradition request,
saying the allegations aim "to block his influence and efforts to spread religious awareness among the international community."
Dr Ahmad Zahid had told Parliament on Oct 31 that Zakir had not broken any laws or regulations during his stay in Malaysia. "As such, there is no reason from a legal standpoint to detain or arrest him.”
He assured lawmakers on Wednesday that the government would continue to monitor Zakir's activities in the country and would take action if he got involved in any terrorist activities, reported The Star.
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