Updated: August 15, 2019 09:30 AM GMT
A file image of Indian protestors holding placards as they shout slogans during a protest denouncing Islamic scholar Zakir Naik in New Delhi on July 18, 2016. Zakir now resides in Malaysia where he is causing controversy with contentious remarks about race and religion. (Photo by Sajjad Hussain/AFP)
Zakir Naik, an Indian Muslim scholar living in Malaysia, is at the center of a heated racial and religious storm in the multi-ethnic Southeast Asian nation.The popular Islamic preacher caused outrage when he doubled down on a speech he made accusing Malaysia’s ethnic Indians and Chinese communities of being “guests” with questionable loyalty to the Muslim-majority country.The outrage comes after Zakir suggested that Hindu Malaysians were more supportive of the right-wing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Islamist party PAS, which rules Kelantan state.”You know someone called me a guest. So I said that before me, the Chinese were the guests. If you want the new guest to go first, ask the old guest to go back too.”He later claimed that his comment about ethnic Indians had been taken out of context and that he was speaking about them supporting Modi’s call for him to be sent home at the same time as Mahathir had defended him.MPs and senior figures in Malaysia’s new government are appalled by the disquiet he has caused in the multi-racial country after being granted permanent residency by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.The minister for Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq from Mahathir’s Bersatu party has joined growing calls for Zakir to be deported for making racially and religiously sensitive comments.”An attack against our Chinese and Indian brothers and sisters is an attack against all Malaysians,” he tweeted on Aug. 14.
“The problem that we face is that we cannot send him back. Because he runs the risk of being killed. So he is here today, but if any country wants to have him, they are welcome to do so.”The high-profile Indian Muslim preacher was banned from entering the UK and Canada after he praised Osama bin Laden and said “all Muslims should be terrorists.”He claims the statement was taken out of context and he was talking about terrorizing thieves.
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