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INDIA will make a formal request to Malaysia for the extradition of controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik, reported the Times of India today.

“Our legal internal process is nearing completion. Once it is completed, we will then make an official request to the Malaysian government very soon,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar was quoted as saying.

Zakir, who is known for his puritan brand of Islam, has been a permanent resident in Malaysia for more than five years.

Putrajaya has denied giving the preacher “special treatment” as alleged by certain parties, with the Home Ministry saying he has not broken any law in Malaysia.

In April, Perkasa bestowed its most prestigious award, Bintang Pahlawan Pribumi Perkasa Negara, to Zakir in recognition of his contributions to Islam.

He became the first international figure to received the award and was made an honorary member of the Malay rights group.

In 2013, he received the Tokoh Maal Hijrah award from the government.

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has prepared charges against Zakir for “promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through public speeches and lectures”.

The NIA has also filed a charge sheet against him for allegedly inciting youngsters to carry out terror activities.

The 52-year-old televangelist’s hard-line views have sparked outrage and an investigation in India, leading him to flee the country.

He is also said to be banned in the UK.

In an earlier article, the Times of India reported that support for a “more politicised Islam” had grown in Malaysia over the past few years under Prime Minister Najib Razak, especially following the ruling coalition’s poor performance in the 2013 general election.

Rashaad Ali, an analyst with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, was quoted as saying if Malaysia were to boot Zakir out of the country, it would cause the authorities “to lose religious credibility in the eyes of the public”.

He said Malaysia accommodated Zakir despite the legal troubles he faced overseas because “he remains a reasonably popular character among Malays, who gloss over his more controversial aspects”.


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