Under fire for racial remarks, Zakir Naik apologises to Malaysian people

Zakir who is not allowed to enter Sarawak has issued an apology. Reuters File

Zakir who is not allowed to enter Sarawak has issued an apology. Reuters File

Tun Dr Mahathir said he was not sure who had given the India-born Muslim preacher Malaysian permanent residence status, but regardless, those holding the status can not participate in politics.

Zakir is scheduled to arrive at Bukit Aman at 3pm to resume giving his statement under Section 504 of the Penal Code for the intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, he said when contacted.

File image of Zakir Naik.

The police issued a circular to all police contingents nationwide instructing them on the ban order.

Menteri Besar Aminuddin Harun said the ban is enforced with immediate effect with the interests of a multiracial society in mind and to maintain peace in the country.

He also urged members of the public, especially the non-Muslims, to listen to his speeches in their entirety.

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"It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding", Naik said. He had also said Hindus in Malaysia had "100 times more rights" than Muslims in India, and Hindus were more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad.

During a religious talk in Kota Baru, Kelantan, on Aug 8, Dr Zakir responded to calls for his deportation by saying that the Malaysian Chinese should "go back" first as they were the "old guests" of the country.

"I have never said this kind of things". We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other not that you may despise (each other).

Naik is facing charges of inciting communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities in India. The channel was banned in India and Bangladesh in 2016 for allegedly inspiring a terror attack in Dhaka that killed 22 people.

Malaysia's impatience with Naik also comes days after Malaysian Minister P. Waytha Moorthy, Special envoy of Prime Minister Mahathir, visited India and met Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

Malaysian police on Monday questioned Naik for allegedly making insensitive remarks about race in the multi-ethnic country, as pressure mounts on authorities to kick him out. The rest are mostly ethnic Chinese and Indians, most of whom are Hindus.

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