Malaysian ruling party defends decision not to deport Zakir Naik to India

File photo. Photograph:( DNA )

WION Web Team Delhi, India Jul 08, 2018, 05.08 PM (IST)

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad met controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Saturday even as he remained firm on his decision to not to deport him to India.

A ruling party strategist has stoutly defended the government's decision against Naik's deportation. 

"I can confirm that Naik went to see Tun (Mahathir) this morning (Saturday)," Malaysia media reported quoting a source.

The meeting came a day after the Malaysian president ruled out deporting Naik unless he breaks Malaysian laws.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs had confirmed on Wednesday that an official request for Naik's extradition had been made.

In January, India had made a formal request to Malaysia to deport Naik, wanted by India for allegedly inciting youngsters for terror activities through his hate speeches. India also has an extradition treaty with Malaysia.

For the unversed, Naik is wanted in India for alleged terror activities and money laundering. 

Naik has also accused the media in India of subjecting him to a campaign of vilification over the past two years. He said "fake news" about his deportation would be exposed.

"Most of the articles published against me will be proved as having no basis and that they were false," he said in a new video message through his Facebook page.

Naik is being probed under terror and money laundering charges by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He had left India in July 2016.

The NIA had first registered a case against Naik under anti-terror laws in 2016 for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups.

Naik is also under investigation for issuing alleged hate speeches that inspired a deadly terror attack on a popular cafe in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh in 2016.