Zakir Naik
Zakir NaikReuters

Two days after the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad stated that his country has the right to not extradite Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, the Ministry of External Affairs made a formal request to the Malaysian authorities to deport Naik.

Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson of the MEA, said that India has made a formal request for the extradition of Zakir Naik. "We would continue to pursue the matter with Malaysia," Kumar added.

Earlier, the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad cited an example of Australia, stating that the country refused Malaysia's request of extradition of Sirul Azhar Umar back in 2015.

Mohamad also stated that Naik had informed him that he would not be accorded justice in India.

Naik, the founder and president of a Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), is considered to preach hate and support terrorism. Naik also used to run Peace TV, which has now been banned by the government, was set up in 2006 and was broadcasted from Dubai. According to Naik, the channel got more than 200 million viewers in hundreds of countries.

Malaysia has granted asylum to Naik since 2016 when he fled from India after he was charged by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for promoting communal disharmony to the country. An investigation revealed that militants, who carried out the Dhaka Terror Attack in July 2016 and the leader of Hyderabad's Islamic State's module, confessed that they were influenced by Naik's sermons.

India has charged Naik under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Sections 120(b), 153(a), 295(a) and 505 (2) of the IPC. His organisation was also banned by the Union Home Ministry in 2016.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also filed a prosecution complaint against Naik on money laundering charges in 2016. An estimated Rs 193 crore has been identified as "proceeds of crime" by the agency, reported news agency ANI.

Back in December 2017, the Indian Government's request to issue a red corner notice (RCN) against Naik was rejected by the Interpol due to insufficient evidence. 

The mastermind behind the 2019 Sri Lanka Easter Bombings, Zahran Hashim, who is also the leader of the National Thowheeth Jama'ath had praised Naik for inciting Muslims.

Shortly after the attack, the Sri Lankan authorities stopped broadcasting Peace TV. His preachings are banned in Bangladesh, India, Canada and the UK.