India seeking extradition of controversial Muslim televangelist Zakir Naik from Malaysia

India seeking extradition of controversial Muslim televangelist Zakir Naik from Malaysia
2 min read
10 June, 2019
Indian authorities are taking steps to obtain an Interpol Red notice to pressure Malaysia to extradite controversial TV preacher Zakir Naik.
Zakir Naik is wanted in India on money laundering charges [Getty]

India's Enforcement Directorate is seeking Interpol's assistance to extradite controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik from Malaysia to face money laundering charges, it was revealed on Monday.

Indian authorities accuse the popular TV preacher of having laundered INR193 crore ($27,761,120) in illicit funds.

The ED, a law enforcement agency also charged with fighting economic crime, is working on obtaining a non-bailable warrant from a Mumbai court for Naik's arrest, according to The Hindu.

Indian authorities reportedly expect to secure this warrant on 19 June.

By securing a non-bailable warrant, Indian authorities would then be able to petition Interpol for a Red Notice, which would place Naik on a list of wanted persons.

This, however, falls short of a full international arrest warrant for the preacher, but would place Malaysia - a member country of Interpol - under pressure to return the preacher.

Naik is currently based in Malaysia, where he remains as a permanent resident on a Saudi passport.

He is a popular televangelist and Islamic preacher who has tens of thousands of followers on social media, is also wanted by Indian authorities over alleged support for terrorism.

Naik claims there is a campaign against him, fuelled by the Hindu nationalist agenda of India's Modi government.

But Muslim-majority Bangladesh also took action against Naik's Dubai-based Peace TV network, following a deadly 2016 attack in Dhaka, saying the perpetrators may have been inspired by his sermons.

He has denied all charges and distanced himself from accusations of supporting terrorism, including by criticising the Islamic State group.

However, his brand of ultra-conservative Wahhabi Islamic views are said to have inspired would-be terrorists such as Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan-American linked to a 2009 New York City Subway plot, who was allegedly an "admirer" of Naik's sermons.