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Police bans him from public speeches


KUALA LUMPUR, 20 AUG. Controversial Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik apologised on Tuesday for making racially sensitive remarks in Malaysia, after police banned him from speaking in public and questioned him for hours over the comments.

Naik, who faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India, has come under fire for comments that pitted Malaysia's ethnic and religious minorities against the predominantly Muslim Malay majority.

He is absconding from India on charges of money laundering and hate speeches. Zakir Naik may lose his Malaysian PR status.

Malaysian police grilled Naik for 10 hours on Monday about a speech this month in which he said Hindus in Malaysia had "100 times more rights" than the Muslim minority in India, and that Malaysian Chinese were guests of the country.

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.

Naik apologised for his remarks but insisted that he was not a racist. He said his detractors had taken his comments out of context and added "strange fabrications to them. It was never my intention to upset any individual or community. It is against the basic tenets of Islam, and I would like to convey my heartfelt apologies for this misunderstanding," Naik said.

Naik has permanent residency in Malaysia, and several ministers called for his expulsion after his controversial remarks.



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