Controversial preacher Zakir Naik has claimed that his remarks about Hindu Malaysians had been misquoted.
He came under fire for allegedly claiming that Hindu Malaysians are more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
However, Zakir said that he was only saying that some Hindus in Malaysia trust the Modi government more in regard to the charges against him.
"On the charges against me by the Modi government, my stance was very categorical. I found it unfair that a certain group of Hindus in Malaysia seemed to trust the Modi government more than Interpol, or the Indian courts, or the Malaysian government itself.
"My praise of the Malaysian government for its Islamic and fair treatment of Hindu minorities is being twisted and misquoted to suit political gains and create communal rifts," Zakir said in a statement late last night.
Zakir had made the remarks in response to a question during his talk in Kelantan on Aug 8, regarding the conflict in Kashmir, and the plight of Muslims in India.
Malaysiakini has reviewed two live videos of Zakir's remarks from the talk on YouTube and Facebook.
The YouTube video ends before the preacher finishes his remarks about Hindu Malaysians, while the Facebook video has time jumps, possibly due to connection problems when it was being recorded. Facebook Live videos cannot be edited.
His remarks in full, are are as follows:
“In India, we Muslims are the minority - according to the government, 14.5 percent.
"Muslims says we are about 20-25 percent, but we agree with 14.5 percent also.
"Here, the non-Muslims, the Hindus are 6.3 to 6.4 percent.
"The Hindus in Malaysia get more than 100 times the rights than the Muslims in India.
"Good. Alhamdulillah, I'm not saying take away their rights. Good, this is what Muslims should do.
"They are half the percentage, in terms of numbers much less, half the (population) percentage of Muslims in India.
"Yet, the rights they get here is 100 times more than what India gives to minorities.
"So much so that they support the prime minister of India, but not the prime minister of Malaysia.
"The prime minister of India wants me. The prime minister of Malaysia doesn't want injustice to be done to me.
"The Hindu Malaysians, most of them are supporting the prime minister of India.
There is no evidence. Interpol says no evidence.
"They are believing more in India. They are more Indians than the Malaysians themselves and yet they are enjoying (sic), Alhamdulillah.”
Zakir, a Malaysian permanent resident, is in self-imposed exile in the country as he is wanted in his native India on money-laundering charges.
Putrajaya has refused to deport the preacher despite requests for his extradition, expressing concern about whether he will receive a fair trial in India.
Mahathir has said that Malaysia would welcome it if other countries would like to take in Zakir.
It was reported in May 2017 that Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to the preacher.