Under fire for ‘racist’ remarks, Zakir Naik apologises to Malaysians

Zakir Naik

Kuala Lumpur, August 21: Zakir Naik apologised to Malaysians on Tuesday for making alleged racist comments, after the Indian Islamic televangelist was grilled for 10 hours by the local police and banned from any public activities in the multi-ethnic country.

The official Bernama news agency reported that Naik, wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches, issued an apology for the hurt caused by his remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese during a talk on August 8. Naik’s apology came after he was questioned by the police for a second time in connection with the case.

The 53-year-old Islamic preacher was first questioned on Friday following the contentious remarks made in his speech against Hindus where he questioned their loyalty to the country and took a jibe at the Chinese community as “old guests” in Malaysia.

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director Huzir Mohamed said Naik, accompanied by his lawyer, arrived at the police headquarters on Monday afternoon and left on Tuesday.

Mohamed said Naik was being probed under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

Police spokesperson Asmawati Ahmad said all public activities involving Naik have been banned to “avoid any controversy and hostility, and the potential to cause a tense atmosphere” in the country.

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In a statement issued on Tuesday, Naik said: “Even though I have clarified myself, I feel I owe an apology to everyone who feels hurt because of this misunderstanding. It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding.” He, however, maintained that his speech was taken out of context by his detractors.

PTI

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