Zakir Naik, the controversial preacher known for hate speeches that apparently inspired one of the ISIS attackers involved in the 2016 Dhaka terror attack, is heading back to India from Malaysia.
“He is out of the country tonight. He will be taking a flight to India today I believe,” Malaysian government sources told NDTV in Kuala Lumpur.
The preacher left India in 2016 and has been living in Putrajaya in Malaysia since. He was also given a permanent residency and embraced by top government officials in Malaysia.
When NDTV asked why he was “welcome” there, the source said: “You will have to ask the last government.”
Indian investigators have been demanding that Malaysia hand him over as he is wanted by the anti-terror National Investigation Agency.
The Malaysian government source said that India had failed to produce a red corner notice – which acts like an international arrest warrant – against him. “In our conversations with Indian authorities like RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), we said please give us an Interpol notice and we will arrest him, but they failed to do so,” the source said.
There has been speculation about a change of policy on Zakir Naik’s stay in Malaysia after the exit of the Najib Razak government, the legal fight for which is on in court.
The Home Minister of Malaysia was recently quoted as saying that Zakir Naik was subject to local laws if he had committed a crime.
However, the police authorities couldn’t confirm if his return was part of negotiations with India.