The controversial former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad in an exclusive interview with WION has revealed that no country is willing to take the Islamic extremist Zakir Naik, who is on a run from the Indian authorities.
“We thought that for the time being he can stay here but we would like to send him to some other country where he would be safe, unfortunately, not many countries are willing to accept him.” said the 95-year old Mahathir, implying that countries are fearing to enrage India by giving asylum to a fugitive.
Claiming that the fugitive Islamic preacher “would not be safe from the Indian republic”, the ousted politician eyeing a comeback, said that he would like to send Naik to some country “where we feel he will be safe.”
“The situation in India concerning the Muslim-Hindu relationship is not so good. There have been cases of people being lynched. So, he is, I think not very welcome in India,” the former Malaysian prime minister told WION.
Mahathir’s statements prove that no country is willing to face the ire of India and especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The example of Malaysia is a case-study on a point where irking India severely backfired for Malaysia and eventually led to the ouster of Mahathir after being a Prime Minister of the island country for almost 25 years.
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Mahathir had made controversial remarks against India and in specific Kashmir, at the 85th UNSC last year. He falsely claimed that PM Modi hadn’t asked for the extradition of Zakir Naik.
In response, India had then instantly cut-off the trade relations with Malaysia, stopped imports of Palm oils which forms the bedrock of Malaysia’s export, and slowly and steadily started bleeding it dry.
Many political analysts believe that New Delhi had a big hand in Mahathir’s eventual disgraceful downfall.
India has garnered respect from countries across globe in the last 6 years
The other reason why countries are not willing to take Zakir Naik is because countries don’t want to spoil relations with India. India is a growing super-power and countries around the world understand India’s importance. In the last six-years, PM Modi has worked diligently on India’s international relations with countries across the globe. Modi’s detractors who often childishly poke fun at him for being out of the country at regular intervals should now understand that this is the mutual respect India has earned amongst the countries across the globe due to his routine bilateral tours.
Countries in the Indo-Pacific and the South China Sea have pleasant relations with India. Therefore, Malaysia has no option to send Naik in this region. Towards the west, Malaysia can’t even consider the possibility. Africa is a distant land and Naik would rather prefer getting extradited to India than turn to the African continent.
The only alternative for Malaysia could have been– China–as enemy’s enemy is a friend. But, Zakir Naik smashed the axe on his foot while making disparaging remarks against Chinese and Malaysian Hindus last year.
Since then, Naik has been banned from any public activities in Malaysia and is dependent on his YouTube channel where he appreciates the likes of Ravish Kumar and earns his nickels.
For the uninitiated, Zakir Naik is a radical Islamic preacher, currently on the run after being banned by various countries and is hiding in Malaysia, as India looks to extradite him. The controversial televangelist came into limelight when the perpetrators of Dhaka terror attack were said to be inspired by his so-called teachings.
Last year, the National Investigative Agency arrested 127 terrorists with links to ISIS and found that all have been inspired by Zakir’s speeches.
Zakir Naik is counting his last days of freedom as India is tightening the noose around the Muhyiddin government. So far, Muhyiddin has shown the willingness to work with India and restore some parity and semblance of relations to the levels before Mahathir had gone rogue in his rabid love of Islamic world.
Zakir Naik is sooner or later going to face the music, and as countries one after another refused to entertain his asylum pleas, the terrorist is looking at a bleak future, a future behind the bars of Indian jails with the likes of Mahesh Bhatt happy to make a film on his life—not a bad proposition for the fundamentalist preacher.