KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s cabinet discussed the permanent residency of Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Wednesday, with three ministers demanding his expulsion for allegedly making racially sensitive remarks in the multi-ethnic nation.
Naik, who has lived in Malaysia for about three years and faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India, has come under fire for his recent comments that Hindus in the Southeast Asian country had “100 times more rights” than the Muslim minority in India.
Race and religion are sensitive issues in Malaysia, where Muslims make up about 60 percent of its 32 million people. The rest are mostly ethnic Chinese and Indians, most of whom are Hindus.
The Malaysian ministers said Naik’s comments may have been aimed at driving a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia, an allegation that Naik denied.